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When considering child support in California involving a Native American tribe, things can get complicated. What happens concerning child support when a Native American has a baby with an American and the couple subsequently separate?

If the American is the custodial parent, they want child support to help pay for the children's care and expenses, just like they would get if they had a baby with an American citizen. But they didn't. Custodial parents are left trying to enforce child support orders against Native Americans with the same scant success a custodial parent might have trying to enforce a child support order in Mexico or another country. While tribes are sovereign nations and need not comply with child support orders of US courts, by the same token, Native Americans culturally believe they should take care of their children and elders.

While some inroads have been made with a few tribes, others repel the notion that they should abide by American laws. One commentator, who supports the right of Native Americans to their own tribes, also believes Indians should care about other Indians. It has been suggested that child support should be made a part on gaming agreement negotiations with different tribes.

These are delicate negotiations, but worthy of consideration because in the end they involve what is best for the children. Whatever differences exist culturally, both cultures typically encourage the need to support children. In California any custodial parents seeking child support may benefit from an attorney dedicated to helping them get what they deserve.

Source: NPR, "Tribal Rights Hinder Child Support For Mothers," Kelley Weiss, Aug. 13, 2011

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