Supreme Court rules on adoption case

Family law situations and child custody can be a complicated matter, and doing what is in the best interest of a child may not be as easy as it sounds. In one particular child custody and adoption case, the parties have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to reach a decision. Any Pennsylvania couples in the midst of adoption, especially those of Native American descent or those involved in an adoption of a child with Native American roots, may want to follow the ruling and what may be next for the parties involved.

The case involves a girl who was given up for adoption. Her biological referred to the Indian Child Welfare Act as a means of pursuing custody of the girl, as he currently has custody over the adoptive parents. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the act did not apply in this case because the father never had custody of the little girl in the first place.

The court also determined the act did not apply because the couple who sought the baby at the time of her birth was the only parties pursuing custody. Essentially, there was no Native American party seeking custody over a non-Native American party. The ruling means the actual case of who gets custody of the child will hinge on a lower court’s determination as to what is the best interest of the child without her Native American roots as a factor.

While many cases involving adoption of children go smoothly, complications related to acts or laws that can be used as a determining factor can make a seemingly simple adoption more complicated. Advocates on both sides of this particular adoption case see this ruling as a much needed clarification that will help ease decisions in cases to come. Pennsylvania couples involved in adoption should ensure they have a full understanding of any current rulings that may pertain to their individual situation.

Source:, “Supreme Court: Act doesn’t apply in Indian girl’s adoption,” Brooke Adams, June 25, 2013