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WASHINGTON COULD BE AFFECTED BY CHILD CUSTODY COURT DECISION

A married couple and a biological father are embroiled in a child custody matter that may be of interest to our readers here in Washington. This child custody case has led the parties to make a request for review by the highest court in the nation. If it is accepted for consideration, the decision by the Supreme Court could affect people in every state who face such child custody issues.

In the case being considered for review by the Supreme Court, a man sought to gain custody of his biological child using a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act. The child had been adopted at birth by a married couple. The local court found that the child should be in the custody of her biological father under the law and, at the age of three, she was sent to be with him.

What may be of interest to those of us in Washington and across the country is the fact that every state approaches the federal law differently. Because of this, it is difficult for some parents to be certain about the outcome of such a case being decided under this federal law. Though this case affects an adoptive child, it could also affect those cases that have a Native American parent involved in a child custody matter during a divorce.

The Supreme Court should decide if it will hear the child custody matter in the coming weeks. If it accepts the case, the outcome will be closely watched throughout the nation. Any child custody case involving a Native American parent could be affected by the court's decision. Washington parents going through a custody case similar to this one could look into seeking legal counsel in order to best know how to proceed.

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