Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his child, holding that the trial court did not err in its determination. Mother filed a petition to terminate Father's parental rights on the grounds that the child was born out of wedlock, Father failed to provide substantial financial support or consistent care with respect to Mother and the child, and that Father had willfully abandoned the child. The trial court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights based on willful abandonment and that termination of Father's parental rights was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court properly appointed a guardian ad litem for the child; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that it would be in the child's best interests to terminate Father's parental rights. View "In re C.J.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court terminating Father's parental rights to his child, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights. The Pitt County Department of Social Services filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Father, alleging four grounds to terminate his parental rights. The district court entered an order concluding that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights based on all of the grounds alleged in the petition. The district court further concluded that termination of Father's parental rights was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by concluding that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights. View "In re N.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights in his minor child, holding that the trial court did not err by concluding that Father's parental rights were subject to termination on the grounds of neglect pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1). Youth and Family Services filed a motion seeking to have Father's parental rights to his child terminated on the grounds of neglect and willfully leaving her in foster care or a placement outside the home for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress toward correcting the conditions that led to her removal from the home. The trial court terminated Father's parental rights on both of the grounds alleged in the termination motion and concluded that termination of Father's parental rights would be in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err by concluding that his parental rights to the child were subject to termination on the grounds of neglect. View "In re S.D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court granting the petition filed by Mother for the termination of Father's parental rights, holding that the trial court appropriately found grounds to terminate Father's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7). After a hearing, the trial court entered an order terminating Father's parental rights, concluding that Father had willfully abandoned the child within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7) and such abandonment justified termination and that it was in the child's best interest to terminate Father's parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court's findings supported its adjudication under section 7B-1111(a)(7); and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the child's best interest would be served by the termination of Father's parental rights. View "In re K.N.K." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his child, holding that the trial court appropriately found grounds to terminate Father's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7). Mother filed a petition to terminate Father's parental rights on the basis of willful abandonment and Father's failure to pay child support. The trial court entered an order determining that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights on the basis of willful abandonment and concluding that it was in the child's best interest that Father's parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err by denying Father's motion to dismiss the petition and by terminating his parental rights on the basis of willful abandonment. View "In re B.C.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father and Mother's parental rights to their two children, holding that the trial court did not err in its decision. The Department of Social Services filed a motion to terminate the parental rights of Father and Mother (together, Respondents) on grounds of neglect and willfully leaving the children in foster care for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to their removal. After a hearing, the trial court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Respondents' parental rights and that it was in the best interests of the children to terminate Respondents' parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court's findings of fact were sufficient to support its conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1); and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that terminating Respondents' rights was in the children's best interests. View "In re Z.A.M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her five minor children, holding that the trial court's findings supported its conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights to the children pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(3). The trial court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights based on neglect, failure to make reasonable progress toward correcting the conditions that led to the children's removal from her care, failure to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of the children's care while they were in the custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS), and dependency. The court further concluded that terminating Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the children. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the record supported the trial court's conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights for failure to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of the children's care while they were in DSS custody. View "In re J.M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights, holding that the trial court made and relied upon findings of fact that were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence in analyzing Mother's reasonable progress to remedy the conditions that led to the removal of her children. On appeal, Mother argued that the trial court made and relied upon finding of fact that were unsupported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence in assessing her reasonable progress to remedy the conditions that led to the removal of her children. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings supported its conclusion that Mother had not made reasonable progress in correcting the conditions that led to the children's removal and that the children were likely to suffer neglect in the future. View "In re D.W.P" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her four children, holding that the evidence supported the trial court's conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights based upon her willful failure to pay a reasonable amount of the cost of care for the children during their placement in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(3). The court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights on the bases of neglect, willfully leaving the children in foster care for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to their removal, and willfully failing to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of care for the children during their placement in the custody of the Department of Social Services. The court also concluded that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the findings fully supported the trial court's conclusion that one ground existed to terminate parental rights, and therefore, this Court need not address Mother's arguments challenging the remaining grounds. View "In re S.E." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the trial court's order terminating the parental rights of Father to his child on the basis of neglect, holding that the findings in the court's order were insufficient to support a determination that Father had neglected the child. After the trial court entered an order adjudicating the child to be a neglected and dependent juvenile Father was ordered to comply with a case plan requiring Father to take a number of steps in order to reunify with his children. The trial court later changed the primary permanency plan to adoption with a concurrent secondary permanent plan of reunification. The court subsequently found that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights on the basis that Father had neglected the child and that such neglect was likely to recur of the child was returned to Father. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court's order, holding that the trial court's findings were insufficient to support the court's ultimate determination that Father's parental rights were subject to termination on the basis of neglect. View "In re K.N." on Justia Law