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Child custody battle that crosses state lines put on hold

Utah readers may be aware that the fate of a 9-year-old girl hangs in the balance while two families await the decision of an appeals court in the state she knew as home from the time she was an infant until January of this year. The child custody battle began when her father was released from prison. Now, her adoptive family hopes they will get to see her again.

While the girl's biological father was in prison, he was stripped of his parental rights. At that time, the foster family who took her in as an infant adopted her. When the man was released after being given a reduced sentence, he wanted his daughter back. The adoption was nullified, and the girl was sent out-of-state to live with her father.

The appeal was filed with the Tennessee Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court judge's decision to award custody to the biological father in Nebraska. Originally, a hearing was to be held on the matter in Nebraska, but it was vacated in order to await the decision on the appeal. It is believed that the appeals court will also make a ruling regarding which state will have jurisdiction over the custody case.

Child custody battles are not always between two parents who are divorcing.  Many other circumstances necessitate the need for a biological parent -- or adoptive parents in some cases -- to take the issue to court. This case provides a good example to Utah parents that the issue of custody is not always connected to a divorce. Any biological parent may have standing to request a change in the custody arrangement of his or her child.

Source: wowt.com, "Custody Battle in Legal Limbo", Brian Mastre, Oct. 10, 2014

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