Court to Hear Arguments in Two-State Custody Fight

California appellate court justices are slated to hear arguments on Tuesday.

A California appeals court will hear arguments on Tuesday in the two-state legal battle over custody of a 2-year-old girl between an Orange County woman and the girl's birth father in Ohio.

Stacey Doss' attorneys have appealed an Orange County Superior Court judge's ruling in July yielding jurisdiction in the custody battle over Vanessa to the Ohio courts.

City News Service reports justices will hear arguments on a motion to stay the ruling until a full panel of the appellate court can make a ruling on which state should have jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, a trial over custody is scheduled to begin December 6 in Ohio because Stacey Doss failed in September to reach an agreement with birth father—Benjamin Mills Jr., of Dayton—in mediation.

Vanessa has remained with Doss because of an earlier ruling blocking her return to her father.

Doss has said she will go to the Ohio appellate court if the lower court rules the child should be taken away from her.

The father filed for custody in Ohio in 2008 before the adoption was finalized. A separate custody battle is continuing in Ohio.


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The girl's mother claimed the pregnancy was the result of a one-night stand, and that Mills was not the father. The mother, identified as Andrea Conley, reportedly has a long and contentious relationship with Mills. Genetic tests proved Mills was the father.

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