U.S. Supreme Court consider custody and Indian Child Welfare Act
Generally, child custody is awarded, based on what is in the best interests of the child and judges are often called upon to look at the evidence and then decide where the child should be placed. A custody dispute over small children can be hard on the children as they bond with one parent and then face the uncertainty of being taken away. This is especially true in adoption cases where a birth parent objects to the placing of their child with someone who is not related to them by blood.
A child custody case is being looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court involving a little girl with Indian blood and a father who used the Indian Child Welfare Act to obtain legal custody of her after she was given up for adoption by her mother. The father's attorney argued that the father was a good father and that while he gave up his paternal rights to the mother, he did not intend to give up his legal rights as a father.
The adoptive parents argue that the father had given up his parental rights and had not provided any support to the child or her mother. The justices, themselves, appeared to be split over the arguments recently made; some appeared to agree with the father and some with the adoptive parents.
The decision does not seem to be an easy one to make. The child has been living with her father since the age of two and the father's status as a fit parent does not seem to be an issue. What is at issue is whether the Indian Child Welfare Act applies to Indian parents that give up their rights. The justices will need to carefully consider every aspect before issuing their ruling.