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MAN WHO RAISED CHILD THINKING IT WAS HIS IS ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH BIOLOGICAL FATHER

Generally, third parties, such as grandparents, have a difficult time litigating custody with a natural parent. There is a “natural-parent presumption” which is hard to rebut. However, in an admittedly unique case, the Court found that a man who acted as the father of a child stood on equal footing in a custody battle with the natural father. In a three-way custody action between a natural mother, the mother’s ex-husband who had supported, cared, and treated the child as his own, and the man who turned out to be the biological father, the trial judge was in error in considering the ex-husband to be a normal “third party.” Instead, the father stood in the same shoes as a biological parent due to his care of the child over the years. In the Interest of a Minor, VDW, No. 2012-CA-00884-COA (12/3/13)