Adopting a child can be a joyous occasion. A child finds a new, loving family and the adoptive parents welcome a child in need into their arms. While many adoptions happen without any difficulties, when challenges do arise, they can be extremely complicated. One such case was recently decided by the Supreme Court, and helps show how difficult it can be to gage what, exactly, is in the child’s best interest.
In that case, the biological father and the adoptive parents of a Native American girl were fighting over custody of the child. The father tried to invoke the Indian Child Welfare Act which attempts to prevent the breakup of Native American families. However, according to the Court, the biological father was never really involved in his daughter’s life, or in supporting the mother while she was pregnant with the girl. The Court, in a narrow 5-4 holding, ruled that, essentially, no family existed between the child and the father, so the Indian Child Welfare Act could not be invoked. Though the case was sent back to state court, this is a major ruling in favor of the adoptive parents.
Family legal issues like this are extremely complex. Determining child custody depends on several facts, including which home provides financial support, stability, and, generally, which household is best for the child’s wellbeing. When a dispute arises over adoption or child custody, a family law attorney can help a parent fight for the child’s best interest.
When one faces a child custody or adoption battle, it can be difficult for parents to articulate why they feel they are best suited to meet their child’s needs. An experienced attorney can help communicate a parent’s effectiveness and why their home is best for the child to a judge who will ultimately have the final say. These disputes often mean the dissolution of a family. Therefore, those caught in the middle of these fights should seek an attorney who will help them fight for their child.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, “Supreme Court: Act doesn’t apply in Indian girl’s adoption,” Brooke Adams, Jun. 25, 2013