Child custody ruling upheld in tribal court

The ultimate goal when determining custody arrangements in any Utah divorce case is to account for the best interests of the child or children involved. It’s for that reason that the terms of a child custody agreement are legally binding. In the event that one party attempts to violate the terms of a custody agreement, a major legal dispute can ensue. One especially complicated custody dispute may have finally come to an end after months, now that a tribal court agreed that the father of two little girls should have custody of them despite the actions of their mother.

A South Dakota family law court awarded primary child custody of the two little girls involved in the case to their father in August 2013. The mother of the two young girls was reportedly scheduled to have them every other weekend. During one October visit, however, she allegedly took the girls onto tribal reservation land and reportedly filed a petition with the reservation court to gain custody of the daughters. Because she was on reservation land, the woman was not apprehended by state authorities.

Upon hearing the custody dispute in late December of that year, the tribal court ruled that primary custody was to be reinstated to the children’s father, and the girls were returned to their dad. The girls’ mother was charged with parental kidnapping and arrested.

And while they are back home with their father, there is evidence that the extended child custody dispute may have affected the children. The eldest of the two is reportedly behind in school since she missed approximately two months of class.

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