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Grandmother flees to reservation to avoid child custody issue

The laws governing reservations in the United States and the rights and protections of those on reservations can be in direct conflict with the state law or rights of individuals outside of the reservation. A child custody case is currently unfolding as a dispute between a father and grandmother of two children leads to that grandmother seeking refuge on a reservation. Those in Missouri who have tribal affiliations may be interested in the grandmother's actions and potential consequences.

The case making news involves the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The mother of the two boys is a member of the tribe. The grandmother took the boys there as they were living with her at the time she was ordered to turn them over to the biological father in another state. While on the reservation, she cannot be arrested for not abiding by the court order.

The grandmother claims the father provides an abusive home and is unfit to be the custodial parent of the children. She has also filed for grandparent visitation, but the outcome of that case is pending. Authorities say the father has been investigated, and there is no justification for claims of abuse. The grandmother was facing felony charges for not handing over the children, and those have been dismissed by one state but may still be filed by the other state involved. The reservation has said it will not get involved with the case at this time.

The different entities and states involved in any child custody case in Missouri can make the process more complicated. However, not abiding by an order pertaining to handing over children can lead to serious criminal consequences and impact future custody decisions. Parents may want to negotiate resolutions that work in the best interest of the children, or they work with legal representatives to ensure any court order is fair as well as to understand exactly what the consequences may be if one party does not abide by that court order.

Source: ktvq.com, "Grandmother in custody dispute no longer facing charges in Montana", Simone DeAlba, Oct. 14, 2015

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