Scottsbluff, NE asked in Native American Law for Nebraska

Q: What is the native American law if a court system refuses a jurisdiction hearing for the minor children?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: I'm not sure which law specifically you are looking for. It could be one of several.

You might want to take a look at the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act (Nebraska Revised Statutes 43-1501 to 43-1517). You could also take a look at the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in Nebraska (Nebraska Revised Statutes 43-1226 to 43-1266).

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Native American Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Under Native American law, particularly the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), if a state court refuses to hold a jurisdiction hearing for minor children who are members of a tribe or are eligible for membership, there are specific steps that can be taken.

Firstly, the ICWA provides tribes with the right to intervene in certain state court child custody proceedings involving Native American children. If a state court denies a hearing on jurisdiction, the tribe or an interested party can petition for a transfer of the case to tribal court, provided certain conditions are met.

If the state court refuses to transfer the case or does not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the tribal court, there may be grounds for an appeal. This appeal could argue that the state court is not complying with the provisions of the ICWA, which seeks to protect the best interests of Native American children and promote the stability and security of Native American tribes and families.

It is important to act promptly and seek advice or intervention from the child's tribe or legal counsel familiar with ICWA and tribal jurisdiction issues. The tribe’s legal department or a lawyer with expertise in ICWA cases can provide guidance on the appropriate legal steps to take in this situation.

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