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Indian Child Welfare Act invalid in adoption case

When a couple in Ballantyne decides to adopt a child, it is important to make sure that the laws are followed in order to avoid a custody fight if one of the biological parents decides that they want the child. Our readers may remember a story we did back in May concerning an adoption case that was being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The family law dispute was over the claim by the biological father that the adoption violated the Indian Child Welfare Act.

After hearing arguments from the biological father, who is Cherokee, the adoptive parents and reviewing the legal statutes, the Supreme Court came to the decision that the ICWA was invalid in this case. The court ruled that biological Indian fathers could not take advantage of the ICWA to suddenly claim parental rights after not providing any financial support to the biological mother.

With the ruling, the adoption issue will go back to the state court and the father will need to likely prove to the court that he did not abandon his baby or the mother in order to prevent the adoption process from going forth. Currently the biological father has physical custody of the child.

Before a couple proceeds with an adoption, it may be a good idea for them to retain an experienced attorney to make sure that there will be no family law issues coming up later on. The attorney can make sure that both parents' have either voluntarily relinquished their rights or that a court has done so for them, providing a smooth path to adoption .

Source: NBC News, "Supreme Court rules for couple over baby girls adoption," Tracy Jarrett, June 25, 2013

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