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Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 12-399

In dispute arising under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) between an adoptive couple and the biological father of the child who had previously relinquished all parental rights prior to the child's birth, the South Carolina State Supreme Court's judgment for the biological father is reversed and remanded, where: 1) assuming for the sake of argument that biological father is a "parent" under the ICWA, section 1912(f) does not apply, as here, where the relevant parent never had custody of the child; 2) section 1912(d) is inapplicable when, as here, the parent abandoned the Indian child before birth and never had custody of the child; and 3) section 1915(a)'s adoption-placement preferences are inapplicable in cases where no alternative party has formally sought to adopt the child.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 06/25/2013
  • Published 06/25/2013




  • United States Supreme Court