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Tag Archives: parent & child

Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Termination of Parental Rights – Neglect – Probability of Repetition – Drug Addiction (access required)

In re J.H.K. Where the respondent-father has a pattern of rehabilitation and relapse back into his drug addiction, the trial court reasonably concluded there was a probability of repetition of neglect of the minor children. We affirm the trial court’s termination of respondent’s parental rights.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Custody & Visitation – Fiance’s Intended Adoption (access required)

Best v. Gallup When the defendant-mother brought her plaintiff-fiance into the family unit, gave him decision-making authority with regard to the minor child, allowed the child to call the (now former) fiance “Daddy,” and allowed the fiance to share in her custody of the child without creating an expectation that the relationship would be terminated, the mother acted inconsistently with her paramount parental status.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Support – Modification — Incorporated Separation Agreement – Automatic Increases – Unenforceable – Support During College (access required)

Wilson v. Wilson The separation agreement that was incorporated into the parties’ 1988 divorce judgment required the defendant-father to increase his child support payments whenever he received a raise or bonus; however, such automatic child support increases do not take into account all of the factors required to modify child support, such as the needs of the children. We reverse the trial court’s order requiring the father to pay $23,921 in past due child support.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Termination of Parental Rights – Willful Abandonment – Best Interests – Statutory Amendment (access required)

In re C.I.M. Based on the testimony of a DSS social worker and the respondent-father’s own testimony, the trial court found that respondent had failed to attend child and family team meetings or to assist in the development of a case plan; that he had not visited with his children since 2009; that he had not communicated with the children since 2009; and that he failed to pay child support from January through July 2009 although he had some money to provide child support. These findings support the trial court’s November 2010 conclusion that respondent willfully abandoned the children for more than six months preceding the filing of the petition to terminate his parental rights. We affirm the trial court’s order terminating respondent’s parental rights.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Permanency Planning Order – Insufficient Findings (access required)

In re I.R.C. In its permanency planning order, the trial court recited allegations against the respondent-mother but failed to link those allegations to the ultimate findings of fact that G.S. § 7B-507(b) requires before a court orders that reunification efforts cease. This court cannot simply infer from the findings that reunification efforts would be futile or inconsistent with the child’s health, safety, and need for a safe, permanent home where the trial court was required to make ultimate findings specially based on a process of logical reasoning.

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Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Ability to Comply – Attorney’s Fees – Unemployment – Parent & Child – Custody Modification  (access required)

Williams v. Chaney Where the plaintiff-mother was not disabled but, instead of getting a job, she chose to spend an inordinate amount of time making frivolous filings in this custody case, the trial court could find that the mother had the ability to pay the attorney’s fees that the court had ordered her to pay as a sanction.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Custody – Biological Father – Back From Iraq – Maternal Grandparents  (access required)

Jones v. Russell The defendant-father had a sexual relationship with defendant Jones. He obtained employment as a civilian contractor and left for Iraq without knowing Jones was pregnant. Even though the child was four years old and had lived with the plaintiff-maternal grandparents her whole life when the father learned that he had a child, as soon as he found out, the father started paying child support, quit his job and returned to Wake County and took advantage of every visitation opportunity with the child.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Adoption – Acknowledgement of Paternity (access required)

In re Adoption of S.K.N. Even though the trial court could have concluded that respondent had acknowledged paternity based on his statements to his mother and stepmother and a phone call on his behalf to DSS - all of which were supported by sufficient evidence - the trial court also based its conclusion on a finding of fact that was not supported by the evidence: that respondent hired an attorney during the relevant time period. Therefore, we must vacate the order finding acknowledgement and remand for a determination of whether the declarations and phone call were sufficient, on their own, to constitute an acknowledgement of paternity.

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Domestic Relations – Constitutional — Parent & Child – Custody – Paternal Grandparents – Insufficient Findings – Subject Matter Jurisdiction (access required)

Powers v. Wagner Although the defendant-mother left her son with his paternal grandparents for two years, the trial court failed to make findings as to whether the mother intended for the arrangement to be temporary or permanent. The trial court should not have proceeded to the issue of the child’s best interests before ruling on the issue of the mother’s intentions. We vacate the order granting custody to the grandparents and remand for further proceedings.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Custody Modification – Changed Circumstances – Mother’s Hostility & Move – Effect on Children (access required)

Stephens v. Stephens The defendant-mother’s angry outbursts and hostility towards the plaintiff-father and his current wife, in addition to the mother’s move from Harnett County to Durham were substantial changes in circumstances. The trial court was not required to wait until the changes harmed the children to find that the changes affected the children. We affirm the custody modification.

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