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Domestic Relations — Parent & Child – Constitutional – Appeals – Issue Preservation

Domestic Relations — Parent & Child – Constitutional – Appeals – Issue Preservation

Despite being on notice that DSS and the guardian ad litem were recommending that the trial court change the primary permanent plan for “Jimmy” and “Lola” from reunification to guardianship, the respondent-father failed to assert before the trial court his constitutional argument concerning his paramount interest in the custody of his children. Consequently, respondent failed to preserve this issue for appeal.

We affirm the Court of Appeals’ ruling on issue preservation.


(Earls, J.) Limited to the narrow facts of this case, we hold today that, while a parent’s rights are protected by a constitutionally based presumption, when a child is already in the custody of a nonparent by valid court order, as in these juvenile court proceedings, a parent on notice that a court may enter a permanent order of guardianship must raise the objection that the constitutionally required findings are not present in order to preserve that issue for appeal.

In re J.N. (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-062-22, 10 pp.) (Philip Berger, J.) (Anita Earls, J., concurring) On discretionary review from the Court of Appeals. Appealed from Forsyth County District Court (Lisa Menefee, J.) Theresa Boucher for petitioner; Nancy Litwak for guardian ad litem; Troy Shelton and Daniel Gibson for juveniles’ guardians; Benjamin Kull for respondent. 2022-NCSC-52


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