Orange County Appeals Court Writes Likely Final Chapter in Baby Vanessa Custody Battle

An Orange County appellate court last week dismissed a case involving the girl known as Baby Vanessa, clearing the way for the Orange County child custody case to be finally closed, according to City News Service. As I have documented numerous times over the last year, the child was born in Ohio and given up by her birth mother to a Santa Ana woman, Stacey Doss, in an adoption arranged during the birth mother’s pregnancy.

It later emerged that the birth mother had lied when she claimed not to know who the father was. The biological father, in fact, had other children with the birth mother, his estranged girlfriend. He, however, had in turn given up custody rights to the other kids, who were being raised by his mother. The grandmother also filed a custody claim in what became a complex multi-sided two state child custody dispute.

Doss was awarded custody in March after she reached a settlement agreement with the biological father and grandmother. That settlement will allow the biological father, who has a history of domestic violence claims being filed against him, to visit Vanessa in limited circumstances and only when accompanied by the girl’s grandmother. A day before the California court ruling the father pled no contest in an Ohio court to three “felony counts of theft,” City News Service reports.

According to City News Service “the appellate court’s dismissal was essentially a formality because of the settlement agreement. However, it was necessary so Ohio officials can sign off on the agreement granting custody” to Doss.

As an Orange County family law attorney one can only say that there is some relief to be had in what appears to be the end of this protracted, and at times emotional, Orange County child custody dispute. Whether the arrangements worked out by Doss with the Ohio family will work and will benefit Vanessa herself, only time will tell.

City News Service via Rancho Santa Margarita Patch: OC Court Clears Way for Doss to Keep Baby Vanessa