He's fighting to get his daughter back and now all a local father can do is wait for a judge's decision.
Daniel Quinn's bitter custody battle has spawned major changes in Lansing and a court appearance Friday may have put him one step closer to bringing his daughter home. Quinn has been trying to do just that for over three years now.
As TV5 previously reported, Quinn and his then 2 1/2-year-old daughter are all smiles in the picture to the right. But four years ago, his baby girl was taken away right in front of his eyes.
"Now, she's 6 years old, last time I talked to my daughter was August of 2008, and the last time I saw Maeleigh was Memorial Day of 2008," Quinn explained.
This story starts in 2006, when Quinn was dating Maeleigh's mother, a woman who he said claimed to be divorced. She got pregnant and the two moved in together. But shortly after Maeleigh was born, Quinn learned something wasn't quite right.
"At the hospital, I was denied to be able to sign my name on the birth certificate, and it was at that point, the hospital said that she was married," Quinn said.
The two continued to live together for the first two and a half years of Maeleigh's life, but then they split. Maeleigh's mother got back together with her husband again and the husband went to a judge and said he is the only father the little girl has known, and said he will raise the little girl like she is his own.
"That's conspiracy, it's not kidnapping, it's conspiracy to kidnap a child, and that's what happened. They colluded, using the laws, colluded in order to manipulate and defraud the courts in order to kidnap my little girl," Quinn said.
Now Quinn is prepared to go the distance to get her back.
"I believe my daughter's entire future resides on me winning this case and getting her home, no matter how long it takes, and no matter how high the mountain is that we have to climb," said Quinn.
TV5's cameras were barred from Friday's crucial hearing, but inside we witnessed the raw emotion of the case. It all boils down to whether the woman he was involved with was honest with him about her marital status at the time the child was conceived.
"He's never himself, nor have I seen a client like this, persevere so much to actually change the law in a major respect," said Greg Rohl, Quinn's attorney.
Back in June, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new law aimed at giving biological fathers the right to petition for parental rights. Critics say the old law was concerned more with maintaining the family unit than the welfare of the child. The husband of the little girl's mother is currently in prison on drug trafficking charges while Maeleigh was in his presence. Quinn said one of the biggest reasons he has put up this fight is to protect a child before a marriage.
"We would never tolerate that somebody could just walk in and take a child they know does not belong to them, because a law allows them to do that - well to me that's kidnapping," said Quinn on Friday.
And with the possibility of many other child custody battles using Judge Gadola's opinion and ruling on the issue, he felt it was best to take his time, look at the facts and issue a written statement.
At this juncture in the case, there has been no decision and it's not clear when the judge will make a ruling.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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