Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
Se Habla Español Nous Parlons Français
Call 713-574-7952 or 888-572-6059
888-572-6059

Adoption and custody issues when Indian child welfare is a factor

When the welfare of a child is involved many parties can wind up competing to do what they think is best. Government officials in Texas have an interest in trying to protect children from abusive situations. Would-be parents who are unable to have children of their own may seek to adopt, inspired by love and a desire to provide a child a good home.

If the child happens to be a member of a Native American tribe federal law has something to say about how things should be handled. It's called the Indian Child Welfare Act and unless great care is taken, adoption and custody determinations can wind up being invalidated. A clear understanding of the ICWA is crucial.

For those who may be unfamiliar with this law; a quick synopsis. It was enacted in 1978 in response to concerns that Native American children were being improperly removed from their families and tribes. While it might be argued that those actions were motivated by good intention, lawmakers recognized that the effect was eroding Native communities and cultural identity.

The law establishes that in cases where a child's tribal membership is at issue, tribal courts, rather than state courts, have jurisdiction. While the law's language attempts to be quite clear about how it should be implemented, interpretations by the courts have varied over the years. Last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued new final rules to bring more consistency to ICWA proceedings.

In addition to providing clear definitions of critical legal terms, the new rules offer:

  • Guidance on what efforts child welfare officials must make to keep an Indian child with its biological family
  • Standards to be followed in emergency child welfare proceedings
  • Clarity that all participants involved in foster or adoptive placement cases have to indicate their understanding that the child involved is part of a recognized Indian tribe

The ICWA presumes that the best interests of an Indian child are served by maintaining his or her links to the tribe. This can create a unique layer of legal issues and it is clear that skilled legal representation is needed to protect the rights and interests of adoptive parents or those seeking custody of a child.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Client Testimonials

  1. Laura Dale the best Family Law attorney I have ever met... Posted by John...Listens, takes your calls, tells you the truth (even when it may not be what you want to hear)... Read More

  2. The Best...Posted by a Child Custody client... Laura Dale handled my international child custody and divorce matter. I am an attorney in Houston and was referred to her... Read More

  3. A Meticulous, Knowledgeable, Attorney with Heart...Posted by a Child Custody client... Laura was not the first attorney that my husband and I interviewed for an extremely complex... Read More

  4. Top Notch, Hands Down - The Best...Posted by Tammi, a Child Custody client... Laura Dale has been absolutely the best attorney I could have found for my difficult child custody... Read More

Contact Our Experienced Team Today | Se habla español | Nous parlons français

Due to the experience our lawyers have in many specialized areas, you can rely on us to put together the right team to handle your case, even if it centers on complex issues such as international family law, business valuation or bankruptcy. Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable lawyer.

Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
1800 Saint James Pl.
Suite 620
Houston, TX 77056

Toll Free: 888-572-6059
Phone: 713-574-7952
Fax: 713-600-1718
Houston Office Location

Review Us