The Aftermath of the Supreme Court Adoption Case

We previously told you about the recent Supreme Court decision in an adoption case. You can read about it here. As we told you, the Supreme Court did not decide the issue of where the child should live, but left that up to the South Carolina courts. That has caused the case to take some unusual and bizarre turns.

The South Carolina courts determined that the adoptive family in South Carolina should have custody of the child. However, the child is currently living with the biological father in Oklahoma and has been for awhile. The father and the couple were supposed to go to mediation and negotiate a reasonable time and manner for the child to be given over to the couple. The courts then decided that the father was not doing so in good faith and ordered the child to be turned over to the couple.

That’s when things got strange. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered that the child should not be immediately handed over to the South Carolina couple, but instead should remain with the biological father for now. In an extremely unusual move, the Governor of Oklahoma ordered that the father be arrested and extradited to South Carolina immediately. He turned himself over to the local sheriff. An hour later, an Oklahoma judge ordered his release.

The case has the court systems of two states in disagreement and the governor of one of those states siding with the court of the other state. That is where things stand now. Who knows where this will end up and what it might ultimately mean for interstate adoptions. They normally are not nearly this complicated. Unless the two states can sort this out themselves, it looks like the Supreme Court might need to intervene again.

Tana Benner
Tana Benner is an adoption attorney with Columbia Family Law Group. Her practice is focused in the area of family law and she has particular interests in adoption and helping children and victims of domestic violence.