Matthews Bark | “Supreme Court rule can affect Minneapolis child custody disputes”

Source       :
Category   :   Matthews Bark
By                 :  Swaden Law Offices
Posted By  :  Contact the Attorney General

It is a good thing when children are loved but not such a great thing when that love results in a child custody dispute that lasts several years. Torn between two families that love her, a young toddler has spent half her life with her Caucasian adoptive parents and half her life with her Native American biological father while a final judgment looms over the families regarding final custody.
Supreme Court
The controversy began when the biological father, a member of the Cherokee Nation, made a regrettable decision before the child was born to abandon both child and mother. The biological mother later began adoption proceedings and the child was placed with an adoptive family. However, after learning that his child was put up for adoption, the biological father changed his mind and fought to gain custody of his child.

The father’s main legal argument was that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which precluded the separation of Native American children from their biological parents, entitled him to custody. Although the local court had applied the Act and granted custody to the father, the Supreme Court ruled that the Act did not apply because the father had abandoned the child. The case was remanded back to the local courts for a determination of custody outside of the Act.

In Minnesota, when a local court determines a child custody dispute, several factors are considered in making that decision. The overriding standard for a child custody determination is “the best interest of the child” and all factors are examined with this standard in mind. Some of those factors may include the parents’ wishes, the child’s wishes if old enough, the child’s primary caretaker, the child’s emotional bond with each parent and siblings, physical stability, the mental and physical health of the parents and their capacity to love the child. No one factor is conclusive and there are other factors the court considers. These are just a few examples.

Minnesota parents in a child custody dispute should be aware of the factors the court considers in determining the parent that will serve the child’s best interest. Child custody cases should be taken seriously with the proper legal representation because a child custody order is difficult to change outside of a substantial change in circumstances.


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