The biological father of a 4-year-old girl of Cherokee descent and the Cherokee Nation could be required to pay the girl’s adoptive parents for expenses associated with the custody battle.
According to the Tulsa World, a South Carolina family court is seeking the expenses as part of the contempt-of-court charges against Dusten Brown. A warrant was issued for Brown’s arrest last month after neither he nor a representative appeared at several court-ordered meetings in South Carolina concerning the adoption of Brown’s daughter, known publicly as “Baby Veronica.”
The fines would cover the expenses of Matt and Melanie Capobianco of James Island, who gained custody of Veronica last week. The Tulsa World reports the petition was filed September 9 while Brown was appealing court orders to hand over his daughter.
Brown fought for custody of Veronica after the child’s mother gave selected the Capobiancos as foster parents. The courts do not ask for a specific amount, but want Brown and the tribe to reimburse the couple for attorneys’ fees and other expenses. Attorneys for all sides involved declined comment, citing a gag order on the case.
A South Carolina family court awarded custody to the Capobiancos in August, following a more than three-year legal fight that eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court. After those proceedings, the court filed a complaint of “custodial interference” against Brown and sought his extradition from Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of the Capobiancos after the case navigated through the state’s judicial system for another month. Brown still faces an extradition hearing later this week.