A custody battle is never a simple or easy thing to navigate. For one Florida couple, however, their child custody struggle is even more distressing than the norm. The couple lost custody of their infant daughter just days after her birth, based on a tribal court proceeding that they were unaware was even taking place.
The maternal grandmother did not want the child's father to be involved in the child's life. The reasons for that position are unclear. She approached a Miccosukee tribal court to gain custody, and authorities went to the hospital and removed the infant against the wishes of both parents. They claim that there was no paperwork provided to show the basis or validity of that action.
There is now a question of whether the hospital is at fault in allowing the child to be removed without proper authorization. Some law enforcement and legal experts believe that tribal court orders are invalid outside of reservation lands. However, the current location of the grandmother and infant are unknown. If they are on tribal land, reversing the tribal court order could be a very difficult process.
Child custody cases involving tribal courts create challenging legal issues, in Florida and elsewhere. This is certainly not the first time that the authority and jurisdiction of a tribal court is being called into question. Custody battles are expensive, and parents with limited resources often face a hurdle in these types of complicated legal matters. As the parents fight for their daughter's return, additional details about this case may become available.
Source: CBS Miami, "Florida Couple Claims Hospital Allowed Miccosukee Police To Take Newborn Baby With Bogus Court Order", March 21, 2018