Young v. Young (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-07-1234, 16 pp.) (Cheri Beasley, J.) Appealed from Durham County District Court. (Doretta L. Walker, J.) N.C. App.
Holding: A father’s unemployment is not enough to establish the requisite change in circumstances needed for a child support modification where the father applied for only five positions in the course of one year. The father “failed to prove … that his sustained unemployment is involuntary, given his lack of proof with regard to his job search effort and his self-imposed restrictions on his search.”
The mother and ex-wife’s financial status also has no bearing on the father’s ability to meet his support obligations due to his unemployment.
The father may be granted a modification after suffering a reduction of income greater than 15 percent – but only after three years have passed since the initial order.
The court lacks jurisdiction to review the father’s appeal of an April 18, 2011 order because the father did not meet the required timeline.
We reject the father’s claim that his constitutional rights were violated when the district court failed to provide him court-appointed counsel for a hearing on contempt charges where he could be jailed. The father cited Turner v. Rogers, 180 L. Ed. 2d 452 (2011), as support for his assertion that due process required he be provided with counsel. However, Turner clearly states that “the Due Process Clause does not always require the provision of counsel in civil proceedings where incarceration is threatened.” The father failed to show he was truly indigent and therefore in need of court-appointed counsel.