Father of baby whose mother died in crash vies to become legal guardian

PLANO, Texas (WSVN) — The father of a baby born after her mother died in a deadly crash in Texas has been stuck in limbo, unable to take his baby home due to complicated legal matters. Right now, she doesn’t even have a name on her birth certificate. But now he is one step closer to becoming the child’s legal guardian.

According to Fox 4, James Gardner and his baby girl headed home from the hospital on Wednesday. Gardner says he’s ready for his new life with his daughter, who’s only known as “November BG (baby girl)” on her birth certificate.

“She’s doing great,” said Gardner. “And she’s beautiful. Oh, she’s beautiful. Sorry, I gotta take a deep breath.”

Gardner is planning to name his baby girl “Hadley,” a name chosen by his late fiancée, Heather Trimble, who was eight months pregnant when she was in a horrific car crash earlier this month. Doctors delivered the baby early, but Trimble passed away from her injuries shortly afterward.

“That’s one of my largest regrets for her is that she couldn’t even see Hadley before she went,” Gardner said.

Trimble was still legally married to someone else before she died, but she left him three years ago, Fox 4 reported. Because of this, Gardner has limited rights, which also means he cannot yet name his baby.

A family law attorney not involved in this paternity case, Hunter Lewis, said the marriage complicates this situation.

“Because she was married to him at the time of the birth of the child, the actual father, legally speaking, is a presumed father — which is her husband,” Lewis explained.

However, Gardner said he hired an attorney of his own to help him through the legal issues. He said Trimble’s estranged husband has been cooperative, granting him power of attorney to allow a DNA test and for Gardner to take the child home from the hospital.

An emergency hearing is set for Friday. Once parentage is resolved, Gardner will be able to change the birth certificate to give Hadley her name.

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