Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights in his son, holding that the trial court failed to make proper findings on adjudication.Mother initiated this action seeking to terminate Father's parental rights, asserting that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights based on willful abandonment pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7). After a hearing, the trial court terminated Father's parental rights. The Supreme Court vacated the order below, holding that the trial court failed to make proper findings on adjudication and remand was required for further factual findings. View "In re K.J.E." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her minor child, holding that Mother was not entitled to relief on her allegations of error.The trial court found that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (2) and that termination was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Mother failed to show prejudice from the trial court's denial of her counsel's motion to continue the termination hearing; and (2) the trial court sufficiently complied with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act as it pertained to the child. View "In re D.J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's and Father's parental rights to their child, holding that the trial court properly adjudicated the existence of a ground for termination under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(3).The Department of Social Services filed a petition to terminate Mother's and Father's parental rights on the grounds of neglect, willful failure to make progress, failure to pay for the cost of care for the juvenile, and dependency. See N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1)-(3), (6). After a hearing, the trial court determined that grounds existed to terminate the parents' parental rights as alleged in the petition and that it was in the child's best interest that the parents' parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's conclusion that a ground for termination existed pursuant to subsection 7B-1111(a)(3) was sufficient in and of itself to support termination of the parents' parental rights. View "In re D.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights in her minor child, holding that one of the grounds outlined in N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a) existed to justify terminating Mother's parental rights.After a hearing, the trial court entered an order concluding that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights to her child pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)91), (2), and (9) and that it was in the child's best interests that Mother's parental rights be terminated. Mother appealed the termination of her parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court's findings of fact challenged by Mother on appeal were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence; and (2) the facts supported the trial court's legal conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a). View "In re T.M.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her minor daughters, holding that the evidence supported the trial court's adjudication of the existence of grounds for termination pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1).After a termination hearing, the trial court entered an order that adjudicated the existence of the three grounds for termination alleged in the motion to terminate Mother's parental rights, concluded that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children's best interests, and terminated Mother's parental rights in the children. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence in the record supported the trial court's adjudication of the existence of grounds for termination pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1). View "In re L.H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's and Mother's respective parental rights to their two children, holding that the findings of fact adequately supported the ground for terminating the parents' parental rights for willful failure to make reasonable progress under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(2).The trial court entered an order terminating the parental rights of Father and Mother, concluding that the Yadkin County Human Services Agency had proven the existence of both of its alleged grounds for termination - neglect and failure to make reasonable progress - by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence and supported its conclusion of law that the parents willfully failed to make reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to the removal of the children from their home. View "In re B.J.H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his minor child, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support the necessary findings to establish any of the statutory grounds for termination alleged by Father and found by the trial court.After a hearing, the trial court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(2), (4), and (5) and that it was in the child's best interests that Father's parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that in light of the trial court's failure to announce the standard of proof which it was applying to its findings of fact and due to Petitioner's failure to present sufficient evidence to support any of the alleged ground for the termination of Father's parental rights, this Court was required to reverse the trial court's order without remand. View "In re M.R.F." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her minor child, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction and did not abuse its discretion in determining the child's best interests.After a hearing, the trial court terminated Mother's parental rights to her child on the grounds set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (2). The court further concluded that it was in the child's best interests for the parental rights of Mother to be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to issue the termination of parental rights order; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in terminating Mother's parental rights. View "In re M.R.J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights in his son, David, holding that the legally valid findings of fact contained in the trial court's termination order did not suffice to support a conclusion that Father's parental rights in David were subject to termination.David's maternal grandparents filed a petition seeking to have Father's parental rights in David terminated on the basis of the grounds set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1), (6), (7) and (9). The trial court entered an order determining that Father's parental rights in David were subject to termination on the basis of neglect, dependency, and abandonment and that it would be in David's best interests for Father's parental rights to be terminated. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding that the trial court's findings of fact did not support its conclusion that Father's parental rights in David were subject to termination. View "In re D.T.H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Mother's parental rights to her minor children, holding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion.After a hearing, the trial court entered an order determining that Mother's parental rights in her children were subject to termination on the basis of all four grounds for termination set forth in the termination petition, that the termination of Mother's parental rights would be in the children's best interests, and that Mother's parental rights should be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings had ample record support, that the trial court's findings of fact supported its determination that Mother's parental rights were subject to termination of at least one of the grounds in the petition, and that the termination of Mother's parental rights would be in the children's best interests. View "In re J.D.D.J.C." on Justia Law