Florida parents may be interested to learn that, on Oct. 12, it was reported that a retired teacher fled to the Northern Cheyenne reservation with her two grandsons after a Minnesota judge determined that the children's father should have custody. The grandmother would not be under the state court's jurisdiction if she remained on the reservation.
Although the teacher is not a member of the tribe, her adopted daughter who is the mother of the two boys is. The boys came under the grandmother's care when their mother could no longer take care of them due to her battles with addictions. The grandmother stated that she and others argued that the father should not have custody due to abuse allegations. However, the judge ruled that the father should be given custody. According to the father's attorney, no abuse charges have been filed.
The grandmother was seeking custody of the children in a Minnesota state court, but she also sought to obtain guardianship from the Northern Cheyenne tribal court, which was granted. An arrest warrant for the grandmother was signed on Oct. 7, even though states are required to recognize tribal court rulings under federal law.
Parents are legally allowed to raise their children unless they are found unfit. If a party attempts to prevent a parent from exercising their visitation or child custody rights, an attorney can assist by providing evidence to the court that demonstrate that it would not be in the children's best interests to allow that to happen. If the other party still interferes, the attorney may request through the court that the children involved be returned.
Source: ABC News, "Woman in Custody Case Hides on Reservation With Grandsons", Amy Hanson, Oct. 12, 2015