How Tribal courts deal with Native American Child CustodyHow Tribal courts deal with
Native American Child Custody
The Indian Child Welfare Act protects Native American children in adoption and foster care placement, and in the termination of parental rights.  It generally doesn't come into play when parents are divorcing.

That does not mean that tribal courts don't have jurisdiction for child custody.  If you're going through a divorce and either party is Native American, you should talk with a lawyer like Brian Utsey who is knowledgeable about Indian Law.

Understanding Child Custody

There are actually two types of child custody, legal custody and physical custody.

When the courts decide legal custody, they are deciding who will make the major decisions concerning a minor child.  Physical custody is concerned with where the child lives.

If one parent is awarded sole legal custody (also known as custodial custody), that parent is responsible for making all the major decisions concerning the child.  This doesn't stop the parents from discussing decisions; it just means that one parent has the final say.

Joint legal custody is when both parents are active in making the decisions about the child.  The courts usually grant joint legal custody when the parents cooperate with each other.  If the parents are not speaking to each other during the divorce proceedings, it is less likely that they will get joint legal custody.  Joint legal custody does not mean that the child's time is evenly split between the parents.  Usually, one parent or the other is awarded more physical custody so the child's life isn't disrupted entirely.

Visitation rights.  Even if one parent is granted sole legal custody and physical custody of the children, the courts recognize that having both parents involved in a child's life is very important.  In those cases, parenting time (or visitation) is decided by the court.  This gurantees that the non-custodial parent still has the opportunity to be involved with the child.

Supervised visitation.  In some cases where abuse has taken place, the courts can grant supervised visitation.  In this case, a person can be assigned to oversee the visitation by the parent in question.  This allows the children time to see the parent while keeping them safe.

In all cases, the courts are looking out for what is in the best interest of the child.  Child custody attorney Brain Utsey can help you decide what you can reasonably ask the court to do concerning the parenting of your children.

You initial consultation is free.

Brian Utsey is experienced Arizona and Native American child custody attorney and will explain your options concerning child custody.  Just call and he'll make arrangements to meet you at a location convenient to you.  He'll answer your questions and give you options concerning your child custody case.  It's worth a call. 

Call 480-538-5024.

Brian Utsey, Attorney at Law, serves clients with family law, estate planning and Indian law concerns in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area including Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Scottsdale, Tempe, Apache Junction, Avondale, Buckeye, Casa Grande, El Mirage, Eloy, Florence, Fountain Hills, Goodyear, Maricopa, Paradise Valley, Queen Creek, & Surprise. We also serve clients from all of Arizona's Indian Tribes: Ak Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa-Ak Chin Indian Reservation, Cocopah Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of the Kaibab Indian Reservation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of the Salt River Reservation, San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Tohono O'odham Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation, Yavapai-Prescott Tribe of the Yavapai Reservation.

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