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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Adoptive Parents in Native American Case

A heart breaking case has been ongoing for a number of years over the rights of custody for a now three year old baby girl, who has one percent of Cherokee blood running through her veins. Sadly, the mother discovered she was pregnant with her current fiancé, and once he received this news he decided he wanted nothing to do with the baby. Over a text message the father relieved himself of all parental rights of the child. However the mother, already with two kids and a low paying job, realized that what would be best for the baby would be to have her grow up in a home with a loving family who could give her the care she deserved. She was able to find that loving family and they agreed to help financially support her during the remainder of her pregnancy.

By this time the father had agreed to the adoption and yet at the last moment changed his mind claiming his rights as the father under the Child Welfare Act which was instated as federal law in 1978. This act claims was designed to protect the Native American families from being broken up and their children taken away from them to be adopted into non-Native American families. When taken originally to court, the state agreed that this law in fact protected the father, and the daughter was taken from the home of her adoptive parents, where she had been for nearly two years. Not wanting to stop the fight, the adoptive parents and the biological mother continued to pursue the case and it was taken to United States Supreme Court.

After much thought and contemplation, the court ruled that the father was never involved in her life and by the adoptive family keeping the baby, they were in no way keeping a Native American family from being together, when he never really was one in the first place. There was a five justice majority vote on the matter, and the adoptive parents were ruled that as reliable adults they would be the legal parents of the baby after all. The attorneys representing the adoptive family was able to prove that it was not a Native American family who was broken up, but rather their own because of this legislation. They had spent nearly 27 total months with little Veronica whereas the father only objected the act of adoption after it had already gone through and he had offered no support to the child during the time when the mother was pregnant.

Though the average child custody battle will not be this expensive, they can still be an emotional experience. For this reason, hiring a trusted Raleigh family attorney who can care for your family and legal needs at the same time is so important. Contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC, today for more information!

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