Among all legal matters, issues concerning the care and custody of a child are among the most contentious and heavily litigated. This is not surprising, as there is little in life more important than the relationship between a parent and child. Faced with losing access to one’s child or children, many Texas parents will vigorously fight for their rights. Such is the case for one father currently making headlines for his expected arrest in the wake of a lengthy and difficult child custody battle in another southern state.
The man is the biological father of a now 3-year-old little girl. The mother of the child placed her for adoption when she was an infant. When the father became aware of that fact, he began fighting for his parental rights. The child was raised by her adoptive parents for a period of two years, until the father won her back in an appellate decision in 2011. A key factor in that determination was the fact that the father is of Native American descent.
The Indian Child Welfare Act was used to successfully argue that the rights of the biological father override those of the adoptive parents, and the child was ordered to be returned to his care. However, the couple appealed, and the U.S. Supreme court gave South Carolina courts the authority to decide where the child should live. In a recent hearing, a court gave that right to the adoptive parents, and the father was ordered to participate in a process of reunification.
He failed to show up at the first of those scheduled exchanges. There result was a charge of custodial interference, which has led to an arrest warrant. As of the time of this report, the father was training in his post with the National Guard, and was expected to turn himself in to authorities upon his return. There is no doubt that this child custody matter will return to court, as there are multiple legal actions pending in at least three different venues. The story serves as an example of the lengths that parents in Texas and elsewhere will go to secure and protect their parental rights.
Source: The Greenville News, “Dad faces arrest in child custody dispute,” Aug. 10, 2013