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U.S. Supreme Court refuses child custody appeal for Indian child

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 was passed in an effort to help tribal people keep their families and their heritage intact. This law passed in response to concerns that too many Indian children were being taken from their families through adoptions. Now, with the support offered by this legislation, more tribal families are able to retain or be granted child custody when disputes arise. As some Georgia well know, custody disputes can be some of the hardest issues to settle.

One recent case involving a child from the Choctaw tribe has wound its way all the way through the court system until it landed before the U.S. Supreme Court. The highest court in the nation has declined to consider the case. The protracted custody battle has been waged by the child's foster family and the Choctaw Nation. 

The girl's foster family had hoped to adopt the child and took the case to court in an effort to ensure the girl would remain in their care. However, every court that has heard the case has sided with the Choctaw Nation. Last spring, footage of the girl being taken from the foster parent's home had such an impact that news media outlets were paying close attention to the case.

With the refusal of the Supreme Court justices to review the case, the child will remain in the home of her Choctaw family. The tribe released a statement expressing its pleasure at the outcome both for the child and for the overall good of the tribe. The majority of child custody cases do not wind up on the desk of a clerk for the Supreme Court, but nonetheless, every dispute is important and deserves to be handled in a professional and supportive manner. Georgia families do have recourse to family law attorneys who can help guide them through the process.

Source:, "U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Choctaw child custody case", Posted: Wed, Jan. 11, 2017

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