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Supreme Court will settle complex, emotional child custody case

Any Colorado family that has been through the divorce process understands how difficult it can be to negotiate a custody arrangement that balances the parents' desires and the children's needs. As one case set to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court shows, however, the cases can become even more difficult if they involve potential conflicts with federal law.

The case in question, commonly known as the Baby Veronica case, began nearly four years ago when a young woman decided to give her child up for adoption to a family living out of state. However, once the child was born and adopted, the biological father sued for custody under the terms of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law designed to help protect Native American culture.

In response to the claim, a state court sided with the mother by ruling that the father had waived his parental rights by failing to provide support prior to the child's birth in accord with state law. The case moved all the way to the Supreme Court based on appeals trying to determine whether federal or state laws would determine parental and custodial rights.

The Indian Child Welfare Act is intended to protect the rights of Native American parents in adoption proceedings. After years of unfairly removing children from reservations, the federal law was passed to provide parents with additional protections. Now, the Supreme Court is set to rule on the scope of this federal law in relation to state family laws.

Most child custody cases are settled based on what is in the children's best interests, which can be an immensely complex task by itself. The ongoing custody case, however, includes additional layers of legal questions that demand answers. When Denver parents are wondering how their custody cases are impacted by state or federal laws, they could benefit from seeking advice from a trustworthy attorney.

Source: Yahoo News, "Supreme Court's upcoming child-custody decision: The Baby Veronica case," Abigail Perkiss, March 4, 2013

  • Our firm has experience helping Colorado parents understand their rights and responsibilities when settling custody arrangements. To find out more, please visit our Denver child custody page.

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