Leazer v. Leazer (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-16-0177, 7 pp.) (Chris Dillon, J.) Appealed from Rowan County District Court (D. Brent Cloninger, J.) N.C. App. Unpub.
Holding: Contrary to the intervenor-grandparents’ contention that the trial court denied them visitation, the trial court’s order actually grants the grandparents visitation with their grandchild coextensive with, but contingent upon, the child’s natural parents’ exercise of their right to visitation, since the child’s parents may only exercise their right to visitation in the home of the grandparents, and only when the grandparents are supervising that visitation.
We affirm the trial court’s award of custody to the child’s paternal aunt and visitation to the child’s parents and paternal grandparents.
The intervenor-grandparents argue that one of the trial court’s “findings of fact” is actually a conclusion of law. Either way, the trial court’s findings that “Intervenors’ motivations in this case are to reunite the child with the Defendants”; that “Plaintiff’s motivations in this case are to protect the child and to raise the child in a safe, loving environment”; that “[t]he minor child is in need of a safe, stable, loving home”; that “Plaintiff can provide a safe, stable, loving home”; that “[t]he minor child is not a tool to be used to get the Defendants to stop using drugs and is not a reward to be given to the parents for ceasing their drug use and criminal behavior”; and that “Defendants and [Intervenor] Debra Hoffman believe that the child can help the Defendants get clean and stop their criminal behavior,” amongst others, all support the proposition that it is in the child’s best interests to be in the legal and physical custody of plaintiff with the grandparents and parents enjoying only limited visitation, whether that proposition is denominated a conclusion of law or a finding of fact.