The father of a Native American child has been in a struggle to obtain “permanent custody” of his child under the laws governing Native Americans. Recently Oklahoma’s highest court held that the father can “continue to raise her for the moment,” but the child will eventually be returned to her adoptive parents as reported by CNN in a September 3, 2013 article.

As a result, the court granted “an emergency stay,” which allowed the father to have temporary custody while, at the same time, it postponed the delivery of the child to her adoptive parents. The court stated that the adoptive parents went through and satisfied all the legal requirements thus they were able to adopt the child. Therefore, the court held that the adoption was valid and did not infringe upon the father’s Native American rights.

In addition, the father was unable to assert custody of the child under the Indian Child Welfare Act because “he never had legal or physical custody” when the child was adopted. The father did not know about the child’s adoption only the mother did as she “misrepresented” the documents that the father was signing.  The father merely thought that he was giving up his rights to the child so that he would not­ be obligated to pay child support, however he did not want to give the child up for adoption. In addition, the mother did not disclose that the child was Native American. The goal of the Indian Child Welfare Act is to preserve Native American familial relationships.

The case was initially filed in South Carolina since the adoptive parents reside there. Thus, South Carolina’s highest court held that the adoption was legal. However, the father did not want to return the child. As a result, he was held in contempt of the court order, and there was a warrant issued for his arrest.  Thus, he brought this case in Oklahoma, and the court sided with the judgment rendered by the South Carolina court.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY lawyer with over 30 years of experience practicing law. He handles family court cases and has helped thousands of clients over the years. If you are seeking child support, alimony (spousal maintenance) or child custody, then contact his office at 718-514-6619. Mr. Lutzky offers free in office consultations. You may visit Jayson Lutzky: A lawyer with your interests at heart.