Man left out of child’s custody case sues state

A Nebraska man has filed a lawsuit against the state after it took authorities more than eight months to notify him that his daughter was removed from her mother’s home and placed into foster care, despite the fact that they had his personal information from child support payments, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Michael Eggleston is suing Nebraska Health and Human Services seeking compensation for the eight months he paid child support to no avail, as well as his subsequent three-year legal battle to win custody of his daughter. Eggleston and the girl’s mother had a tumultuous relationship and after they broke up her mother forbade Eggleston from seeing his daughter, although he was ordered to pay child support, reported the newspaper.

The child was removed from her mother’s care after the woman made several suicide threats, was placed in foster care and was set to be released to her grandmother’s custody before Eggleston was notified of the situation by the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board. Eggleston told the media outlet he hopes his custody struggles will help change the state’s attitude toward parents who don’t have primary custody of their children.

“They made sure they had my money,” Eggleston said. “But anything more, they kept me out of the loop. Looking back on it, I’m still in total disbelief.”

A 2004 state Supreme Court ruling determined that a parent is deprived of a constitutionally protected right if he or she is excluded from a proceeding and if that parent is known to be capable of caring for the child.