The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a complex child custody dispute that could have widespread implications for custody of Native American children. At issue is the India Child Welfare Act, a 1978 federal law that gives the families and tribes of Indian children a say in their custody.
The case revolves around a three-year-old Cherokee girl who was adopted shortly after her birth by a married couple. However, her biological father sued for her custody and was awarded it in 2011, at which time he took her to a different state.
Now the couple is appealing that decision, asking for custody of the girl they have raised. The Supreme Court's decision could help shape how similar cases are handled in the future.
When determining child custody, visitation and parenting time, courts typically consider what is in the best interests of the child. This calculation takes into account several factors, including where the child has lived in the past, the child's relationship with each parent and each parent's physical, mental and financial health.
If you are going through a divorce or are engaged in a dispute over child custody, visitation or support, the stakes can be high. It can affect your financial situation, your living arrangements and the overall structure of your life.
Enlisting the help of an experienced family law attorney is a good idea if you have a family law matter. They can address your concerns, understand your unique family situation and represent your interests in or out of court.
Source: The Star Tribune, "Supreme Court to review Native American child custody case," Jan. 4, 2013