A former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith who claims to be the father of her daughter expressed optimism following a court hearing Friday. But both he and the late model's mother, who is also seeking custody of the girl, refused to discuss the case.

Larry Birkhead, a California-based photographer seeking custody of Smith's baby girl, Dannielynn, said he was "in a happy mood" after the hearing but others were not as pleased with developments inside the courtroom.

"There were different moods for different people. I'm in a happy mood but I can't speak for anyone else," Birkhead said.

Virgie Arthur, mother of the 39-year-old reality TV star and former Playboy Playmate, and her attorneys left the Superior Court building without speaking. She wants to take the girl from Smith's live-in companion, Howard K. Stern, arguing she could provide a more stable home.

Stern, who is listed as Dannielynn's father on the Bahamian birth certificate, did not attend the hearing.

The court clerk's office closed near the hearing's end and nobody was available to answer questions about the proceedings in the three-way custody dispute.

The fight for custody of the infant, who could potentially inherit millions of dollars from her late mother's estate, began after Smith, 39, died of unknown causes Feb. 8 in Florida.

Meanwhile, a hearing on an ownership dispute concerning the house where Smith lived in the Bahamas was adjourned until April, according to an attorney for South Carolina developer G. Ben Thompson.

Thompson, who briefly dated Smith, says he advanced her money for the $900,000 house but she did not honor an agreement to repay the debt. Smith, who lived there with Stern in the months before her death, claimed the house was a gift.

Stern, has remained at the gated house known as "Horizons" with Smith's daughter.

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