Family law cases can be packed with emotion. Various parties are involved, including children, and mothers, fathers, kids, adoptive parents, etc. are bound to fight passionately for what they feel is right. It is no different with a child custody case that has gained national attention.
A father of Native American heritage is fighting for child custody of his daughter who was put up for adoption by her biological mother. This scenario means that so many emotions are involved in this case: those of the biological dad, the biological mom, the child, the adoptive parents and the Cherokee Nation, too.
At the center of this child custody battle is legislation called the Indian Child Welfare Act. It was enacted in 1978 as a response to history in the U.S. of Native American children being taken from their biological parents and adopted into Caucasian families. The ICWA aims to protect parental rights and preserve Native American heritage.
Because the biological father in this high-profile family law dispute is of Cherokee descent, his child is considered the same and, therefore, her adoption is complicated. Essentially, lower courts have ruled up until this point that the Native American tribal courts have authority over the adoption process of this child. That ruling means the initial adoption of the child may not be legal.
Adoption is a blessing for many who want to grow their families in an alternative way. It is important, however, to protect the best interests of all children and to also respect the law, including the laws of Native American tribal courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear this child custody case beginning next month. Family law professionals and, of course, families who are impacted by this adoption matter, anxiously await the court’s decision because it will lay the foundation of how such cases will be handled in all states, including Ohio, in the future.