Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court adjudicating Mother's child a neglected and dependent juvenile and the trial court's order terminating Mother's parental rights in her child based on neglect and dependency, holding that the trial court did not err.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the evidence supported the findings of fact, and the findings supported the trial court's conclusion that the child was a dependent juvenile; (2) the trial court did not err in ceasing reunification efforts with Mother and failing to make reunification part of the child's permanency plan; and (3) the trial court did not err by adjudicating that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights. View "In re A.W." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights in his two minor children, holding that the trial court's findings of fact supported its conclusion that grounds existed for the termination of Father's parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(2).After a hearing, the trial court terminated Father's parental rights on the ground that he had willfully left the children in an out-of-home placement for a period of at least twelve months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to their removal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in adjudicating grounds for the termination of Father's parental rights. View "In re T.M.L." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights in her three minor children, holding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in terminating Mother's parental rights.On appeal, Mother challenged the trial court's adjudication of the existence of grounds to terminate her parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (6). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence and were sufficient to support the trial court's determination that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1). View "In re M.J.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court terminating Respondents' parental rights to their child, holding that the trial court impermissibly failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act.After a hearing, the trial court entered an order in which it determined that grounds existed to terminate Respondents' parental rights and concluded that termination of Respondents' parental rights was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court to conduct a new hearing on termination of Respondents' parental rights, holding that the trial court did not comply with 25 C.F.R. 23.107(a) and therefore could not determine whether it had reason to know that the child was an Indian child. View "In re M.L.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court concluding that the parental rights of Father were subject to termination pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7), holding that the trial court did not err.For his sole point on appeal, Father argued that his involuntary lack of communication with his minor child from the start of the period of his incarceration through the private termination of the parental rights hearing could not serve as the basis for the court's conclusion that grounds existed to terminate his parental rights due to abandonment because the evidence did not support a finding that Father's failure to contact his child was willful. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that clear, cogent, and convincing evidence showed that Father admittedly ignored his ability to contact his daughter or her caretaker. View "In re M.S.A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her two minor children, holding that clear, cogent, and convincing evidence supported at least one ground for the termination of Mother's parental rights and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of her children.After a hearing, the trial court found the existence of grounds to terminate Mother's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1), (2), and (3) and concluded that it was in the children's best interests to terminate Mother's parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court properly determined the existence of at least ground upon which to terminate Mother's parental rights; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children's best interests. View "In re A.M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this matter in which the trial court terminated Mother's parental rights to her son, Liam, and from the trial court's earlier permanency planning order eliminating reunification from Liam's permanent plan, holding that the trial court failed to make written findings as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-906.2(d)(3). The termination order terminated Mother's parental rights to Liam under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1001(a1)(1)-(2) and terminated the parental rights of Liam's father, who was not a party to this appeal. The permanency order, however, lacked findings which addressed one of the four issues contemplated by 7B-906.2(d). The Court remanded this matter to the trial court for the entry of additional findings, and held that it was currently premature for the Court to consider the trial court's order terminating Mother's parental rights. View "In re L.R.L.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights in her three children and terminating Father's parental rights in one of the children, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion.After a hearing, the trial court entered orders determining that Mother's parental rights in all three children and Father's parental rights in one of the children were subject to termination under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1)-(2), (6) and (7). The court concluded that the children's best interests would be served by the termination of Mother's and Father's parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. View "In re N.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his three minor children, holding that the issues identified by Father's counsel as arguably supporting the appeal were meritless.After a hearing, the trial court entered orders concluding that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights to his children on grounds of neglect and willfully leaving the children in foster care or placement outside of the home for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to their removal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's orders were supported by clear, cogent and convincing evidence and were based on proper legal grounds. View "In re P.M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights in her minor child, holding that the trial court abused its discretion.After a three-day hearing, the trial court determined that Mother's parental rights in her children, Daniel and Sara, were subject to termination on the grounds that she had willfully left them in an out-of-home placement for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress toward correcting the conditions that led to their removal from her home. The trial court concluded that termination of Mother's parental rights would be in Daniel's best interests but that the same would not be true with respect to Sara. Mother appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by concluding that her parental rights in Daniel were subject to termination under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(2). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings of fact did not suffice to support the court's determination that Mother's parental rights in the children were subject to termination under section 7B-1111(a)(2). View "In re D.A.A.R." on Justia Law