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Father of child in custody dispute arrested

The biological father of a Native American child at the heart of a href="/Child-Custody-Visitation/">child custody dispute was arrested Monday after defying a court order to return the girl to her adoptive parents -- this coming as the latest development in a four-year case that has spanned state lines and tested federal law.

The adoptive parents, who are a white couple from South Carolina, legally adopted the little girl at birth in September 2009. When the child's father who is a member of the Cherokee Nation learned of her adoption a month later, he asserted his custody rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act, which set off a lengthy legal fight.

A family court judge ruled in the father's favor in late 2011, who soon after took his daughter back. At that time, the adoptive parents set off on a courtroom battle to have the girl returned. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has been continually burdened with this case. It wasn't until after South Carolina's Supreme Court ruled last month to allow the adoption to be finalized, that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene, giving the ultimate go-ahead for the adoptive parents to regain custody of the little girl.

n Baby Veronica custody battle

However, as the girl's transition back to the adoptive parents was supposed to begin last week, the biological father never showed up with his daughter. A South Carolina family court judge ordered the girl to be handed over immediately, with the warning that she was "unlawfully withheld from her lawful parents." Following that, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for the father for interfering with custody.

The father was arrested Monday in his home state of Oklahoma after turning himself in. He posted a $10,000 bond, according to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and a spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation District Court. However, it still isn't clear where the father and his daughter are.

Charleston County authorities said they are in touch with Oklahoma officials about extraditing the biological father "as well as pursuing all available options in locating (the little girl)."

Child custody cases can be extremely complicated and stressful, leading parents, whether they be biological or adoptive, into scenarios that can have legal implications. Be sure to select the right child custody attorney to ensure whatever actions taken in a custody case are fair and legal.

Source:  CNN, "Birth father arrested in 'Baby Veronica' adoption fight" Melissa Gray, Aug. 13, 2013

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