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U.S. Supreme Court says ICWA not applicable in adoption case

There are many factors that are considered by couples in Sarasota seeking to adopt a child and it is not an easy process. Many laws exist to ensure that the best interests of the child are examined, requiring that the adoptive parents go through a rigorous evaluation. In addition, an adoptive parent must also do their homework to make sure birth parents’ rights have been terminated and that all necessary documents and orders are correct.

One issue that has come up in the family courts is over the Indian Child Welfare Act. The ICWA was created to protect children born into Native American families from being removed from the tribe but it has been unclear whether it applies to children given up for adoption voluntarily by a parent, especially if the mother is not Native American but the father is. 

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a 5-4 vote that the ICWA is not applicable in cases where an Indian father has essentially abandoned the birth mother. The ruling comes in the case of a Cherokee father who invoked the ICWA in order to be given custody of his daughter, who was in the process of being adopted by a couple in South Carolina. The father claims that he did not know about the birth mother’s move to put the girl up for adoption. Now a state court will need to decide if the father has a legal claim to the child.

Before a couple moves to legally adopt a child, it is a good idea to make sure that there will be no objections from the birth father. An experienced attorney may be of great assistance in such a legal matter.

Source: NBC News, “Supreme Court rules for couple over baby girl’s adoption,” Tracy Jarrett, June 25, 2013

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