Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Re The Matter Of T.Q.L[1]

Opinion handed down Dec. 18, 2012

The Petitioner, M.M.A., and Respondent, L.L., had a relationship which was thought to have resulted in the birth of a child, T.Q.L.  Over the years, M.M.A. fulfilled the role of T.Q.L.’s father.  Eventually M.M.A. and L.L.’s relationship ended and a paternity test revealed that M.M.A. was not the biological father.  M.M.A. filed a petition alleging unfitness of both L.L. and the child’s biological father, ultimately seeking third-party custody and visitation.  The circuit court dismissed M.M.A’s petition for failure to state a claim.  M.M.A. brought this action for reinstatement of his petition seeking third-party custody and visitation of T.Q.L.  The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the circuit court’s dismissal and reinstated M.M.A.’s petition. The Court held that M.M.A. could petition the court for third-party custody and visitation.