In terms of who should get custody of Anna Nicole Smith's body, the kid's not all right—at least not according to the grandma.
But in terms of who should get custody of the kid, Howard K. Stern is all right—at least for the time being, according to a Bahamian judge.
As expected, Virgie Arthur, Smith's estranged mother, kicked off the third week of courtroom drama Monday morning by filing a motion with Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal to overturn Judge Larry Seidlin's ruling last week that gave daughther Dannielynn's court-appointed guardian, Richard Milstein, control over where Smith was to be buried.
By the end of the day, the appellate panel had approved the stay, blocking the release of Smith's remains to the Bahamas. The body will remain in the coroner's office until the court hears Arthur's challenge. Arthur's attorneys have until Tuesday afternoon to respond.
Despite the temporary setback, E! Online has learned that an optimistic Stern is making preparations for a Thursday funeral.
Arthur is seeking to be named next of kin allowing her to decide where to bury the late Playmate.
Arthur initially filed a motion with Seidlin Friday to stay the removal of Smith's body from the Broward County Medical Examiner's office, where it has spent the last two and a half weeks in refrigeration.
Unsurprisingly, Seidlin was not keen on granting her request.
The often off-kilter probate judge rejected Arthur's petition Monday, saying that to keep the body in the coroner's office would "delay a proper and timely funeral service for Anna Nicole Smith."
"The court is particularly concerned with the dignity of Anna Nicole Smith, the rights of Dannielynn, and the rights of Smith's other loved ones," Seidlin wrote, adding that a delay would likely increase additional deterioration of the body.
Seidlin also challenged Arthur's assertion that she, not Dannielynn, and consequently not Milstein, should be declared next of kin.
Seidlin said that Florida law dictates that a decedent's doctor, not mother, is the legal titleholder. He further claimed that Arthur's assertion was wholly "without legal merit; as a matter of law, Dannielynn is Anna Nicole Smith's next of kin."
Although she appeared with Milstein, Stern and Larry Birkhead after Seidlin's Thursday decision on the disposition of Smith's remains and agreed the former model should be buried in the Bahamas, next to her late son, Daniel, Arthur reversed course and is now seeking to bury Smith in Texas on a family plot, and eventually exhume Daniel's body and inter him alongside his mother.
In her Monday appeal, filed by attorney Roberta G. Mandel, Arthur claimed that Milstein's decision, a decision she previously agreed to, to bury Smith in the Bahamas would put an unfair financial burden on Arthur if she wished to visit her child's grave.
Mandel said that Arthur, who has long been estranged from Smith, would "have to have a passport and roundtrip airplane tickets and several thousand dollars to even visit or put flowers on [Smith's] grave."
"This mother is a mother who deserves the right to bury her child," Mandel told reporters outside the courtroom. "The trial court treated her as though she was nothing."
Mandel said that she and Arthur were willing to take the case all the way up to the state's supreme court, if necessary.
While Arthur awaits a decision in Florida, she has plenty of other litigation to tend to.
Arthur touched down in the Bahamas over the weekend and arrived at the Bahamian Supreme Court Monday afternoon, where she once again faced off with Stern over the custody of Dannielynn. Arthur argued that she can provide a more stable home for the girl than Stern, who is listed on the baby's Bahamian birth certificate and who currently has custody of her.
Stern was not present for the hearing.
"She's the grandmother," Deborah Rose, Arthur's attorney, told reporters by way of explaining why Arthur deserved custody.
Birkhead, the challenger for the title of Dannielynn's baby daddy, also appeared in court.
"I hope to get to see her and have her soon," he said upon entering the courtroom.
However, the Bahamian judge, much like the Floridian jurists before him, failed to make a ruling on the battle, leaving Dannielynn in the custody of Stern for the time being.
John O'Quinn, Arthur's attorney, requested a face-to-face between the grandmother and the five-month-old, though the judge simply redirected her query to Stern, who, as the baby's documented father must grant Arthur permission.
"We want a visit and Stern won't let us," O'Quinn said.
Stern did, surprisingly, let Birkhead.
According to TMZ, Birkhead was allowed to meet with Dannielynn at Horizons, the Bahamian residence Stern is currently occupying. The meeting reportedly took place over the weekend.
Birkhead's chances of being granted custody of the girl in the Bahamas, however, seem increasingly unlikely without a favorable ruling from another Florida judge, Lawrence Korda.
Upon leaving the Bahamian courthouse Monday, Birkhead flashed reporters a thumbs-up sign and Opri said that they "anticipate DNA testing."
On Friday, Birkhead and his team of lawyers requested that Korda enforce a California order to obtain and test DNA from both Smith and Dannielynn to determine the child's paternity. Korda has yet to rule on the request, saying in court that he first needed to determine whether he had the jurisdiction to carry out such an order, should he even decide to do so.
As if that weren't enough of a legal mess, yet another battle is brewing in the Bahamas.
Stern was originally expected to put up a fight this week against G. Ben Thompson, who claims he owns Horizons, the waterfront home Stern and Smith resided in prior to her death on Feb. 8 and in which Stern is currently dwelling. Thompson is seeking either payment for the million-dollar property or Stern's eviction, although Thompson's attorney, Godfrey Pinder, said that regardless of a court decision, Thompson would not seek an immediate eviction
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs presided over the property battle's first hearing today and stuck mostly to procedural issues. He offered to bit of a legal reprieve to Stern, scheduling the next hearing for mid-March.
Meanwhile, at least one party has climbed out of the Smith saga wreckage with the promise of a hopeful future—and, at least right now, it's not Dannielynn.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Seidlin's courtroom antics impressed the heavyweights at CBS News well enough that they have extended an offer of stardom to the probate judge—or at least a regular spot on the Saturday edition of the Early Show.
A letter sent to Seidlin on Friday by Michael Rosen, the show's senior producer, extended an offer to the judge to host a new segment entitled "Morning Justice."
CBS, meanwhile, neither confirmed nor denied that they were courting Seidlin, telling E! News simply that "it's likely that many people in the media will reach out to the judge."