All parties live in Harris county and everyone is in agreement for the adoption. We would be adopting my 6 year old cousin from my unstable aunt and the father is unknown. Currently have temporary custody of the child by POA. Is there anyway to do a simple private adoption without all the huge lawyer fees?
If all you have is a POA on the child then you have nothing that gives you legal custody of this child. You have a piece of paper that is worthless. The parent can revoke the agreement at any moment. You can call the police & ask them. If the parent shows up your home, the police would have to return the child to her since you have no legal right to this child. Therefore, I would immediately be in an attorney's office tomorrow.
So you need to first get temporary legal custody then begin the adoption process.
You can certainly attempt to do this on your own. You can go to the Harris County law library downtown located on Congress & try to figure it out. There is also a free website that has some forms. It's on my blog - www.houstonmediator.blogspot.com -- I don't know if the forms you need are on that website since I don't use it. The website is set up for the public & attorneys don't use that site.
Be aware that the clerks in Harris County have to accept any forms that you hand them.
However, the judge does not have to approve the forms if the judge does not like them. You will need to figure out how to get a hearing in front of the judge. You will need to figure out how to get the "unknown father" served by publication. Mom will need to sign a Waiver of Service in front of a notary.
I recommend that you go on this excellent website & hire an attorney to help you. Most offer a free consultation and take payment plans. In the long run, it will save you time, money and a lot of frustration. Many attorneys enjoy doing adoptions and try to work with people in this area of the law.
Adoptions are "complex" and the attorney can explain it to you when you meet in person. My old blog (www.txfamilylaw.blogspot.com) discusses why judges treat adoptions so seriously. I no longer litigate so please don't call me. As an adopted child, thank you for taking this child into your home & your heart.
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