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Complicated child custody situation involving tribal court

Minnesota parents sometimes face complex situations regarding custody of their children. Such situations often lead to litigation in civil court. However, for those who are of Native American heritage, a different type of court may intervene. This is what has apparently happened in another state where the mother of a newborn child is from the Miccosukee tribe and the father is Caucasian. A nasty child custody battle has ensured between the parents and the infant's grandmother.

The baby's mother, who also has two older children, ages 11 and 12, from a prior relationship, says she was still in the hospital after giving birth to her daughter when tribal police showed up in her room, saying she no longer had custody of her child. The woman told the tribal officers that she did not understand what was happening. The tribal officials took her baby from her and granted custody to the child's maternal grandmother. 

Senator Marco Rubio got involved in the Florida situation. He warned tribal officials that he was in contact with federal agents regarding the incident, and they stood to face serious legal problems if they did not immediately return the child to her mother. Rubio asserted that the tribal court that it acted out of jurisdiction, and basically had manipulated paperwork and wrongfully influenced local police to bring about what essentially amounted to a kidnapping from the hospital.

The tribal court ordered that the baby be returned to her mother. However, the child custody case is not over; the child's father says the grandmother instigated the kidnapping because she hates white people, and he is white. As most Minnesota parents facing similar situations might do, the infant's mother has secured legal support from a family law attorney.

Source: ABC, "Judge orders baby returned to mother in custody dispute involving state and Native American tribe", Bill Hutchinson, March 22, 2018

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