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Biological father returns child to adoptive parents

A four-year child custody battle has finally come to an end with the biological father returning the four-year-old little girl at the heart of the conflict to her adoptive parents.

According to an attorney for the biological father, the little girl, who is a Native American descendant, was returned on Monday in accordance to a court order handed down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The court ruled the girl's father was compelled to return the girl to her adoptive parents who reside in South Carolina.

The adoptive parents adopted the little girl at birth in 2009, and since been embroiled in a deep custody battle that has reached headlines across the nation. A statement issued from the adoptive parents, read in part after the court's announcement, that their "long legal nightmare" is over.

In earlier developments, the biological father, who is a registered member of the Cherokee tribe, had invoked the Indian Child Welfare Act to maintain custody of his daughter. He had been arrested in August after he defied the court order to return the child.

As confirmation of the child's return on Monday was given by the father's attorney. A statement was issued by the Cherokee Nation Attorney General later that same day, which praised the father for the "peaceful and dignified" transfer of his daughter. The statement went on to say that even though she now lives with her adoptive parents, who are white, the little girl will "always be a Cherokee citizen."

The statement also said, "Although this is not something any parent should ever have to do, we could not be more proud of the dignity and courage with which [the biological father] carried himself."

In late 2011, a family court judge had ruled in the biological father's favor, which allowed him to take his daughter to Oklahoma. Since that time, the adoptive parents have fought to have the child returned, basing their argument on the fact federal law does not define an unwed biological father as a parent.

It wasn't until June of this year that a divided U.S. Supreme Court finally sided with the adoptive parents. However, at that time, the biological father rebuffed the decision, and refused to hand over the child until now.

Even as the biological father in this case utilized tactics and resources, as well as engaged in activities that were questionable in order to maintain custody of his daughter, that still might not rule out his rights for visitation or even partial custody. For this reason alone, it becomes paramount to seek out the best qualified legal representation in cases of child custody and visitation rights.

Source: CNN.com, "Biological dad returns 4-year-old to adoptive parents" Randi Kaye and Leslie Bentz, Sep. 24, 2013

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