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Former Texas man fights for custody rights of non-biological son

The biological mother of a now 6-year-old boy was living in Texas when she gave birth to him. According to sources, she told a friend she could not afford to care for her child so she gave the child to her friend and her husband. According to the couple, a little more than a year later, the biological mother changed her mind and filed for custody of the child. The custody dispute is now going on its fifth year. At the heart of the dispute is exactly how the non-biological father's name appeared on the child's birth certificate.

The non-biological 31-year-old father said the woman was living in Texas when, he claims she gave the boy to him and his wife, who is a cousin of the boy's biological father. The mother allowed him to be present at the birth and in lieu adoption, allowed him to put his name on the boy's birth certificate, he said. He has raised the boy as his own son since his birth. The birth mother claims she was not aware of his placing his name on the child's birth certificate because she was still under the affects of anesthesia at the time.

The mother said it took her more than a year and half to locate her son. Thus far a juvenile county court in Tennessee, where the man currently lives with the boy, has refused to acknowledge a Texas court ruling that removed the father's name from the birth certificate. However, a Tennessee appeals court opinion said the lower court must recognize the Texas court's ruling.

A family law attorney not involved in the case said giving the Texas court credit gives the mother significant advantage in the custody case because the non-biological father is not related to the child. Both sides of this dispute agree to share custody of the child, but they cannot seem to agree on the amount of custody that each parent should have. A mutual agreement outside the courts would be best for all concerned, especially the child, who has only known one family and one home since his birth.

The biological father of the child identified by the mother is currently serving time in an out-of-state prison and has an extensive prison record. The 33-year-old biological mother lives in Idaho with her four children. According to the report, a final ruling on the matter may be a long time coming, despite the appellate court's ruling.

Source: Kingsport Times-News, "Custody fight over Maryville boy continues," Sheila Burke, May 17, 2012

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