Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights in his daughter, holding that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over Father in light of Mother's failure to effect proper service by publication pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1).Mother filed a petition seeking to terminate Father's parental rights in his child. Mother filed a motion seeking leave to serve Father by publication, which was granted. Mother obtained the running of a notice of service by publication in the Hendersonville Lightning informing Father that a termination of parental rights proceeding had been initiated against him. Father did not file a pleading in response and failed to appear for the termination hearing. The trial court subsequently terminated Father's parental rights. Father sought relief from the trial court's termination order. The Supreme Court granted relief, holding that Mother failed properly serve Father by publication in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1), and therefore, the trial court acquired no jurisdiction over Father. View "In re S.E.T." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his minor child, holding that the trial court did not err by terminating Father's parental rights on the ground of neglect pursuant to N.C. Gen. Laws 7B-1111(a)(1).After a hearing, the trial court terminated Father's parental rights to his child, finding that both grounds alleged in the motion to terminate parental rights - neglect and failure to make reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to the child's removal from the home - and concluding that terminating Father's parental rights was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in adjudicating grounds to terminate Father's parental rights. View "In re A.S.T." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Parents' parental rights to their three children, holding that the trial court did not err in determining that grounds existed to terminate Parents' parental rights and did not abuse its discretion by determining that termination of Parents' parental rights was in the children's best interests.The trial court terminated Parents' parental rights based on neglect and willful failure to make reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to the child's removal from the home. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err by concluding that grounds existed to terminate Parents' parental rights; and (2) the trial court properly considered the statutory facts set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1110(a) when determining the children's best interests. View "In re A.H.F.S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his minor child in this private termination action, holding that termination was proper on willful abandonment grounds.Mother filed a petition to terminate Father's parental rights on grounds of neglect and willful abandonment. After a hearing, the trial court entered an order terminating Father's parental rights, determining that both grounds alleged in the termination petition existed and that termination was in the child's best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in determining that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights at the adjudicatory stage in this case; and (2) the trial court's findings that were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence supported the conclusion that Father's conduct met the statutory criterion of willful abandonment. View "In re N.M.H." 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.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Father's motion to continue the termination hearing; (2) the trial court's findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent and convincing evidence and were sufficient to support the trial court's conclusions of law; (3) the trial court did not err by terminating Father's parental rights to his child on the ground that Father left the child in foster care for more than twelve months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to her removal; and (4) sufficient grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(7). View "In re A.J.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's order terminating Mother's parental rights to her child, holding that the trial court correctly concluded that grounds existed under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) to terminate Mother's parental rights.After a hearing, the trial court entered an order determining that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights based on neglect under section 7B-1111(a)(1) and that it was in the child's best interests that Mother's parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings of fact supported its conclusion that grounds existed under section 7B-1111(a)(1) to terminate Mother's parental rights. View "In re D.L.A.D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court terminating Mother's parental rights to her three minor children, holding that the unchallenged findings of fact supported the trial court's conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(2).After a hearing, the trial court concluded that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights and that it was in the children's best interests that Mother's parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's conclusion that grounds existed to terminate Mother's parental rights to the children under section 7B-1111(a)(2) was sufficient in and of itself to support termination of Mother's parental rights. View "In re E.C." 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, including Connor, the oldest child, holding that the trial court's conclusion that it was in Connor's best interests to terminate Mother's parental rights was neither arbitrary nor manifestly unsupported by reason.On appeal, Mother argued that the trial court erred in its dispositional decision by determination by determining that termination of her parental rights was in the best interest of Connor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court made the necessary findings of fact as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1110(a) and that the court's findings supported its conclusion that termination was in Connor's best interests. View "In re C.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his son, holding that the trial court's conclusion that one statutory ground for termination existed pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-1111(a)(1) was sufficient in and of itself to support termination of Father's parental rights.Following a hearing, the trial court entered an order determining that grounds existed to terminate Father's parental rights and that it was in the child's best interest that Father's parental rights be terminated. Father appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by adjudicating that grounds existed to terminate his parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's findings supported its conclusion that grounds existed pursuant to section 7B-1111(a)(1) to terminate Father's parental rights. View "In re O.W.D.A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights to his two minor children, holding that the issues identified by counsel in Father's brief were meritless.The trial court terminated Father's parental rights, determining that grounds existed to terminate his parental rights due to neglect and abandonment. The trial court further concluded that it was in the children's best interests that Father's parental rights be terminated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court's order was supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence and based upon proper legal grounds. View "In re X.P.W." on Justia Law