Man fights to gain custody of son whose birth was kept secret

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An unusual child custody case is making news far from us in St. Louis. The case involves an Indiana man who’s fighting for custody of his son in Maine. The 24-year-old is anxiously awaiting results of a court-ordered DNA test that could enable him to get custody of the two-year-old boy.

Back in January of 2010, the Indiana man got some startling news: he was father of a four-month-old baby. More than that, he was also informed that a couple in Maine had been named temporary guardians of the infant.

“I knew nothing” of the September 2009 birth of his son, he recently told a media outlet, adding, “I know deep down inside he’s mine.”

When the mother of the child told him she’d given birth to a baby in Maine four months earlier, she’d already handed off the child to family friends there, allowing them to be unofficial guardians.

In November of 2009, the family friends petitioned a Maine court to be named official guardians.

The mother told the court she wasn’t sure who the father was because she’d had several sexual partners around the time of conception.

Despite her statement to the probate court, the mother had told the Indiana man that he was the father, based on the boy’s physical similarities to the man.

In December of 2009, the court gave the family friends temporary guardianship. The couple is also seeking to adopt the boy.

After learning of the baby, the Indiana man was unable to travel to Maine to see him because he was serving an eight-month jail sentence for receiving stolen property.

Though he was incarcerated, he filed documents with the court seeking establishment of parental rights.

In January of 2011, after his release from jail, he was told by a court that he’d failed to show that “a declaration of his parental rights will be in the child’s best interest.”

That decision was later vacated.

The man says he’s me the young boy he believes is his son twice, but has had 15 to 20 online video chats with the toddler.

Even if the man does eventually win custody, the court says “the process of removing the child from the only home he has ever known will be a difficult and painful one for all involved.”

Source: Bangor Daily News, “Maine supreme court sides with man trying to gain custody of son,” May 9, 2012