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Domestic Relations

Domestic Relations – Adoption – Civil Practice – Special Proceedings – Transfer to District Court (access required)

In re Adoption of C.E.Y. (Fisher, Petitioner Although the respondent-father labeled his motion as an appeal and a motion to set aside an order under N.C. R. Civ. P. 59 and 60, the motion actually requested equitable relief, and the clerk of court correctly transferred this adoption proceeding to the district court under G.S. § 1-301.2(b). Once the clerk transferred the matter to the district court, the court was required to address respondent’s motion. The district court erred in concluding that respondent’s motion constituted an interlocutory appeal.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Support Modification – Consent Order – 15 Percent Presumption (access required)

Hess v. Hermann-Hess Although the parties’ consent order required the plaintiff-father to pay $2,000 per month in child support, after three years, he could seek a modification pursuant to the 15-percent presumption in the N.C. Child Support Guidelines. We affirm the trial court’s reduction of the father’s monthly child support obligation to $437.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Adoption – Constitutional – Due Process – Biological Father – First Impression (access required)

In re S.D.W If a biological father did not know and had no reason to know that the mother was pregnant until after an adoption petition was filed, due process requires the father’s consent to the adoption so long as he promptly took steps to assume parental responsibility once he discovered the child’s existence. In this case, the trial court did not have the opportunity to develop a complete record and make findings on that issue.

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Domestic Relations – Equitable Distribution – Workers’ Compensation Judgment – Separate Debt – Unequal Division – Insufficient Findings (access required)

Allen v. Allen Even though the plaintiff-wife worked in the business that the defendant-husband started before their marriage, when an employee sought workers’ compensation benefits, the Industrial Commission found that the business’s failure to have the required insurance was the fault of the husband alone.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Visitation Schedule – Holidays (access required)

Delancey v. Delancey Although the plaintiff-father’s work schedule as a fire inspector sometimes requires him to work holidays, he requested holiday visitation with the parties’ son and presented evidence of some flexibility in his schedule. When the father moved for reconsideration of a custody order that did not set out any holiday visitation, the trial court should have taken such evidence into account and should have considered the child’s best interests in deciding the motion.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Support – Paternity – Stepfather (access required)

Gunter v. Gunter Although plaintiff’s child was born during the parties’ marriage and defendant’s name is listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate, the parties stipulated that defendant was not the child’s biological father. Since defendant did not enter into a written agreement voluntarily assuming the obligation to support the child, he cannot be ordered to pay child support.

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Domestic RelationsCivil Practice – Subject Matter Jurisdiction — Consent Order – Contempt – Attorney’s Fees – (access required)

Gordon v. Gordon : Although plaintiff labels his challenge to the trial court’s April 12, 2012 order as a subject-matter jurisdiction issue, plaintiff’s brief simply argues that the trial court erred in resolving the issues before it. Therefore, plaintiff’s challenge to the April 12, 2012 order does not implicate subject matter jurisdiction.

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