Larry Birkhead vs. Virgie Arthur: No Decision in Custody Case
Meanwhile, Howard K. Stern says Birkhead is "doing a great job" with Dannielynn
A Bahamas court adjourned Friday without coming to a decision on custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s 7-month-old daughter Dannielynn.
In a brief statement outside the courthouse, the baby’s current guardian, Howard K. Stern, said that nothing had been decided, but revealed that he’s working with Larry Birkhead, who is the child’s biological father, to make a transition, TMZ.com reports.
“He’s doing a great job,” said Stern, who also said that Birkhead has taken on diaper duty.
Before the hearing, Birkhead and Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, had reportedly been working behind the scenes to hammer out a custody arrangement. Lawyers for both parties met privately on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.
After DNA test results on Tuesday confirmed that Birkhead is the baby’s father, the Los Angeles-based photographer, 34, told the Today show that he didn’t plan to share custody.
“It would imply that I’m unfit as a parent, which I’m not,” he said. But he also said he hoped to avoid a court dispute: “We might go from one fight to another, but I’m hoping that’s not the case because, you know, there’s only one dad, and I have no problem with anyone that has good intentions being allowed to visit the baby and see the baby and be a part of the baby’s life.”
Arthur’s lawyer said she would fight for joint custody if talks fail, the AP reports. “We intend to proceed on that application unless something else comes along that causes us not to have to take that course of action,” said attorney Debra Rose.
After the DNA test results were announced on Tuesday, Arthur told reporters, “I’m happy that Dannielynn will know who her real father is. I look forward to working with Larry raising my granddaughter.”
Dannielynn has been living in the Bahamas with Stern, who was her late mother’s companion and is listed on her birth certificate as her father. Stern told reporters after the DNA hearing: “We’re gonna do what we can to make sure that the best interests of Dannielynn are carried out. And I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that [Birkhead] gets sole custody.”
Another hearing in the custody battle is scheduled for next Friday, according to TMZ.