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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
888-268-7997 / 214-385-4562

Family law litigants: big news regarding adoption

Texas families may be aware that a recent legal power struggle has many people confused. Adoption is ordinarily a matter of family law, which could help explain why the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently struck down the Indian Child Welfare Act. The act provided special circumstances regarding the adoption of American Indian and Alaskan native children. 

The specific language of the act, which became law in 1978, is a bit tricky to understand for some. The general context explains that children from these heritages should not be placed for adoption with a family outside their native community if there are family members within their biological community that are willing to take them. This has led many families to suggest that adoption should be based on the quality of life a family can provide, not the race or ethnicity of a child. 

Recently, the federal court struck down the act, stating that it is unconstitutional. The court explains that decisions about adoption or child custody cannot be made on the basis of race or ethnicity. The court states that the act forces states to treat these adoptions differently than adoptions of children that are not a biological member of a federally recognized tribe, and therefore violates federal adoption laws. 

The court argues that the act should be overturned on a federal level, and that these sorts of adoptions should be subject to the same family law proceedings as adoptions involving children of any other race or ethnicity. If a family needs help understanding laws about adoptions, they should speak with an experienced Texas attorney. He or she should be up to date on any recent changes in the law, and be able to help families during any part of the adoption process. 

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