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-Now that the custody dial over a 3-year-old Native American girl that divided the US Supreme Court.
And today South Carolina's highest court ruling that baby Veronica, as she became known, that she should be return to the couple attempting to adopt her and not to her biological father.
Remember that girl's father had given up his parental rights before her birth about 2 years ago.
South Carolina's courts rule that the Indian Child Welfare Act favored her living with him over the couple.
Legal analyst say that law creates high hurdles for adoptions outside of the tribe and the girl's biological mother never married the guy.
She said that she had chosen that South Carolina couple to raise little Veronica.
And last month, the US Supreme Court ruled that the state should go back and take another look at it and decide.
And today, the state ruled in favor of the couple and ordered a family court to finalize the adoption.
Joining us now, family law attorney Vicky Ziegler, and-- you know, first of all, this little girl 3 years old get bounced around like this.
I mean, these are the kind of cases that just are heartbreaking for attorneys that do this work all day long.
This child has been bounced around from home to home.
Remember, she never lived with her biological mother.
She's been living for the first 18 months of her life with the adoptive family and then-- -Then she went to the Dad.
Then the state court and then the Supreme Court of South Carolina said, "No.
That's exactly wrong.
You-- you know, that's right.
You need to now go with the father." Now what happens, the US Supreme Court-- second time that you've been looked at the Indian Child Welfare Act says, "Wait a second, no.
Stay court, Supreme Court of South Carolina.
You got it all wrong.
This child goes back to the adoptive parents but she's been with the father for the last year and a half." -And now she's back with the adoptive parents.
-And the mother-- the birth mother says that she's thrilled because she had chosen this couple to raise her daughter.
You know, as a Dad, I cannot imagine one of my kids being raised by somebody else.
And I'm not saying that this father was without fault.
He wasn't a part of the birth mother's life.
While she was pregnant he gave up his rights, but-- my goodness.
-Well, you would think anybody in terms of that as a right that bears a child into this world wouldn't wanna give them up.
But if they did and in this case, the biological father did relinquish his parental rights, that's why this is illegal enigma for lawyers like myself.
You don't know if the child's getting bounced around because the law is unclear.
And now I think at this point when the state court gets this case back formalizing the adoption, I don't think the biological father's done.
Although the US Supreme Court said, "No, you're not a parent under that federal act.
You have waived your right because you were an unwed father at the time this child was born and you didn't support the child.
You've basically abandoned the child.
You waived and relinquished your parental rights." -Real quickly Vicky.
This was an act-- this federal act that was meant to protect the cultural heritage of Native Americans.
Would this case potentially have an impact outside of that community and affect adoptions, sort of general adoptions across the population? -Sure.
Because this is a federal act, but we're talking about trumping state law and every state has different adoption laws.
So yes, this could become a cornucopia issues.
This could really blow and implode what we do on a daily basis.
And we have to guide people properly.
Imagine this adoptive parents thinking that they're gonna be able to meet the hurdles because their lawyers telling them about the law.
And then all of a sudden, they say, "Wait a second.
We're on a 3 or 4-year battle over this child that we thought we didn't have a problem." So absolutely, I think everyone has to really look at this well clearly and really see if it makes sense or they should broaden it or maybe strike it down.
-Well, my thoughts are with this little girl, baby Veronica.
Hope that she gets a little bit of stability in her life now.
-Thank you so much Vicky Ziegler of family law attorney.
Good to see you.
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