Arizona Supreme Court limits right of tribes to intercede in adoption cases; Rose Law Group Family Law attorney Audra Petrolle provides perspective

Federal law requires additional services be provided to Native families to prevent unwarranted removal.  /Photo Credit:

Tribal government: Decision preserves tribes’ rights to ask for court transfers in adoption cases

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The ability of tribes to intercede in the adoption of Native American children not living on the reservation is limited and not absolute, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled today.

In a unanimous decision, the justices rejected arguments by the Gila River Indian Community that Arizona courts must transfer such cases to tribal courts. Writing for the court , Chief Justice Scott Bales said while such transfer is permissive, it is not a right.

And in this case, the high court said a juvenile court judge was correct in deciding to rebuff the tribe’s request.


“At its core, this decision merely reaffirms a commonly accepted legal principle that you cannot sit on your rights. If you fail to timely exercise your rights, you risk losing them.”

~Audra Petrolle

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