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What's fair?

by C1ay / November 15, 2004 10:26 PM PST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider whether a Colorado couple must return their adopted son to his Missouri birth mother...

The Supreme Court is typically loath to intervene in custody disputes. In 1988, it ruled that parents could not sue in federal court to determine which of two conflicting state custody decisions was valid, reasoning it would "entangle them in traditional state-law questions that they have little expertise to resolve."

At issue in this case was whether the Colorado court overstepped its authority by refusing to give "full faith and credit" to Missouri's judgment as required by federal law and the U.S. Constitution...

In the Colorado case, the two parties agreed to the adoption in an April 2003 agreement filed in Missouri court. The terms allowed the 28-year-old birth mother, who lives outside St. Louis, to take Alex back as long as she changed her mind before the judge gave final approval to the adoption...

More...

So the adoptive parents challenged the adoption they agreed to in a Missouri court in Colorado court and SCOTUS won't help resolve it. I tend to agree that this is not a SCOTUS case but if not, who should settle conflicting state decisions like these?

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Re: What's fair?
by MKay / November 16, 2004 12:08 AM PST
In reply to: What's fair?

These open adoptions have indeed opened a whole new can of worms. And what is fair is what's best for the child but unfortunately, this does not seem to take priority.

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What's right?
by Dick White / November 16, 2004 12:41 AM PST
In reply to: Re: What's fair?

It's fine to say we should do what's right for the child, but what is that here?

The natural mother gave the infant up for adoption, subject only to second thoughts during what was expected to be a short period until the judge signed the official papers. She then refused for months on end to identify the father as required, so the official paperwork was not completed. Now she thinks she should just get the baby back. The Colorado court where the adoptive parents are now said no.

So who would be the better parents to the kid? A single mother who has made a point of thumbing her nose at the judicial system? Or a seemingly responsible couple in a different state?

dw

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Re: What's right?
by MKay / November 16, 2004 12:49 AM PST
In reply to: What's right?

Not knowing the people or any more than what I read, I would not presume to make a decision.

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Re: What's right?
by C1ay / November 16, 2004 1:11 AM PST
In reply to: What's right?

None of those are the points of the topic though. Personally I feel the birth mother acted in bad faith and it was clearly her fault that finalization of the adoption did not happen sooner. Technically it was her right in the original agreement to back out and the Missouri court be bound by that stipulation.

On topic is the matter that this is probably a problem that happens often for one reason or another. I imagine there are a great many divorced parents in different states initiating custody issues in different states. When two states grant conflicting custody where is the venue to resolve it if not the USSC?

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Where is King Solomon when you need him? :-(
by W2X3XP / November 16, 2004 12:31 AM PST
In reply to: What's fair?

This is tough. She did change her mind before the adoption was approved as stated in the agreement. But she also prevented the approval by refusing to give the name of the father. She could have kept that up for years. I don't think she ever intended to give the baby up for adoption.

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Re: Where is King Solomon when you need him? :-(
by C1ay / November 16, 2004 1:14 AM PST

I agree that the birth mother acted in bad faith in this case so this case is not the best example of the problem at hand. In general, what's a fair approach to resolving conflicting custody issues like these from different states?

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Re: loath to intervene in custody disputes.
by jonah jones / November 16, 2004 1:58 AM PST
In reply to: What's fair?

but isn't this a 'judicial' problem?

one state against another? forget the adoption....

this harks back to "mines' bigger than yours", if SCOTUS can't decide, aho can?


.

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Re: loath to intervene in custody disputes.
by C1ay / November 16, 2004 6:32 AM PST

It does seem to be a judicial problem, but whose? The custody issue itself is not a federal issue so i see why the USSC avoids it. It does seem that the birth mother in this case could possibly sue the state of Colorado in the state of Missouri since Colorado effectively violated the order of the Missouri court. What of other cases though? There must be many cases where bitter divorces end up in custody battles that bridge state lines.

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Should be decided in the originating State.
by MarkatNite / November 16, 2004 9:35 AM PST
In reply to: What's fair?

In this case, that would be Missouri. (And frankly, the adoptive parents should've gotten a better lawyer to begin with. Why was there no clause stipulating a time frame? Or that "actions in bad faith" terminated the agreement?)

Child Custody cases in general should be decided in the State in which the custody agreement/divorce decree is filed.

Mark

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