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U.S. SUPREME COURT CONSIDERING CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES UNDER ICWA

Parents in Washington know that much of what they do every day is in an effort to do what is in the best interests of their kids. This is usually the case in child custody matters where parents sometimes fight for the right to have their kids live with them much of the time. It is also at issue in a case set to be heard by the nation's highest court in April.

In the child custody matter, the biological father is battling with the adoptive parents of a young girl for primary custody. At the center of the issue is the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The court is being asked to determine if the Act requires that the child be given to her biological father.

The case stems from an adoption that was agreed to by the biological mother and the adoptive parents. When the father was informed of the impending action, he took steps to stop it. The case has been heard by South Carolina courts, the home state of the father, where it was determined that the ICWA was controlling and the child must be returned to the biological father in the absence of proof that he consented to the adoption.

Child custody matters are often contentious in many cases in Washington. This is because the desire of each parent to make a good decision for their child. When parents disagree, a court can be asked to make a determination. Before that happens, it may do well for parents to review the applicable laws so that they have an understanding of the process as they enter into it.

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