New Mexico residents may be interested learn of a Native American man who is involved in a child custody case. He is the biological father of a 4-year-old little girl that a South Carolina couple adopted in 2009 when she was just a baby. He surrendered to the Oklahoma authorities on Aug. 12. He is being charged with custodial interference in this custody case, however his attorneys allege that he did not break the law. A judge in Oklahoma will be determining whether he did or not.
The biological father asserted his parental rights in early 2010, and in Nov. 2011, a judge in family court ruled in his favor with the agreement of the appellate court. However, on April 15, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court heard the adoptive parents appeal. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the adoption was proper and was not intruding on the biological father’s federal rights. Although he is a registered member of the Cherokee tribe, he was unable to rely upon the Indian Child Welfare Act due to the fact that he did not have physical or legal custody when the non-Native American birth mother started the adoption proceedings without his knowledge.
Turning himself in preempted an extradition order issued against him when the judge in the matter was convinced that he had disobeyed the Oklahoma court order that would allow the adoptive parents to visit the girl.
Child custody matters can be extremely emotional for everyone involved. For families in Albuquerque, a family law attorney who specializes in child custody issues could help in easing the pain and frustration of dealing with these kinds of disputes, while also ensuring that the best interests of the child are met.
Source: CNN, “Oklahoma orders extradition of birth father in Native American custody battle“, Christopher Laible and Randi Kaye, September 05, 2013