Although a child’s aboriginal heritage should be considered during the adoption process, it is not the only factor when deciding on the best interests of the child, according to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Several things come into play when deciding child custody in British Columbia, including the emotional well-being of the child. Some weight should be given when the child in question is of First Nations, Metis or Inuit heritage; however, it does not take precedence over other issues.
In a recent ruling on one particular case, the court indicated that a child who has a strong emotional bond with his or her adoptive family and siblings in that family dynamic — regardless of heritage — would likely be harmed emotionally if removed from the family. In this case, it was clear the child knew about his band and First Nation and is proud to be of Aboriginal descent. An appeals court judge indicated that the Aboriginal heritage of a child doesn’t attract “super weight” over other issues when considering an adoption order.
A court will look at many things when determining child custody. A British Columbia lawyer experienced in family law should be consulted in any adoptive process. A lawyer can use his or her extensive legal knowledge to provide clients with the best advice to help them achieve the desired results for their family law needs.
Most family law cases in British Columbia that divorce lawyers deal with aren’t straightforward, and many factors can weigh into a ruling, especially with adoption and child custody. Working with a lawyer will reduce the risk of surprises at a hearing. In addition to providing legal advice, a lawyer will also be able to direct clients to therapists, social workers and others who may be able to help.
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Source: theglobeandmail.com, “Indigenous heritage not a trump card in child adoption, B.C. court rules“, Laura Kane, Aug. 8, 2017