Supreme Court sides with adoptive family in Baby Veronica case | Charleston Child Custody Lawyers

Yesterday, The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision on the South Carolina “Baby Veronica” case, which initially made headlines back in 2011. Baby Veronica, approximately 1.2% Cherokee Indian, was adopted by a South Carolina couple selected by her biological mother with the understanding that the biological father had relinquished his parental rights. Shortly thereafter, the biological father brought the matter to trial, at which time he denied relinquishing his rights and requested protection under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) due to his Cherokee heritage. Both the Family Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the father, who was granted custody in December of 2011. SCOTUS then granted certiorari to evaluate the legitimacy of the ICWA as it applies to these circumstances.

The case was argued on April 16, 2013, and yesterday’s Opinion reversed that of the South Carolina Supreme Court and remanded the case for further proceedings (i.e. to determine the best interest of the child). Justice Alito, delivering the Opinion of the Court, stated that the biological father did not have a right to claim custodial rights under the ICWA primarily because he had no prior relationship with the child. He referred to specific verbiage of the Act, stating that its purposes are to preserve “continued” parental custody, and ban unwarranted removal from the biological parents. Because the biological father did not exercise custody prior to asserting his rights under the Act, there was no “removal” and thus, no “continued” custody to protect.

In July of 2012, Miller|Conway Attorney David Conway presented his predictions for the case to NBC News. You can click here to read the initial news report from our firm, or view the video below:

For more details on the case, click here to read the full Supreme Court Opinion.

If you or someone you know is seeking representation for a custody matter, contact Miller|Conway Attorneys, Charleston Child Custody Lawyers, immediately to set up a consultation. You can reach us by phone at 843-764-3334 or visit the firm’s website for more information. You may also like us on facebook or follow us on twitter to keep up with the latest updates from our firm.