Featherston Law Group
Free initial Consultation
Local314-400-2302 Toll Free888-203-1942
Contact Menu
Practice Areas View All
Melissa A. Featherston

Court says history key to Missouri man's custody rights

If a biological father who is not married to the mother wants to gain custody rights to his child he must act with reasonable speed in order to ensure he continues to be a part of the child's life. That's the ruling a man from St. Louis was handed when he learned that he had a nearly 10-year-old daughter living outside of Missouri.

The man claimed he did not know the child was his until 2009, at which time he went to court to assert his right and perhaps obligation regarding child custody and support arrangements. While a lower court in the girl's home state of Nebraska ruled in his favor, the state's Supreme Court reversed the decision saying he had not acted in a timely enough fashion regarding child custody and support arrangements after the mother sought him out thinking she might be pregnant with his child.

According to court records, the mother traveled to St. Louis in 1999 to speak with the biological father in order to inform him of her condition. The biological father found out from a co-worker that she was searching for him. He, however, he did not reach out to the mother after her visit. The mother was romantically involved with another man at the time and he became legally established as the girl's father.

The second man was ordered to pay child support while the mother retained custody of the child. However, in 2005 a Nebraska court removed the girl from the mother's custody and granted custody to the man who had long served as her father.

In another turn of events, the mother sought to regain custody of the girl in 2009 and had a paternity test done, proving that the St. Louis man was indeed the father. But the biological father launched his own appeal for custody and the lower court granted his request. As already noted, the top Nebraska court overturned that decision and the non-biological step-dad who helped to raise the child now retains custody of the girl.

The take away here is that men who suspect they may be a father and wish to exercise their parental rights, may need to take steps to assert paternity rights within a reasonable period of time.

Source: The Columbia Daily Tribune, "Court denies Missouri dad's custody rights," June 2, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Featherston Law Group
Local314-400-2302 Toll Free888-203-1942