Articles Posted in Children

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Shebalin v. Shebalin, 2022-NCCOA-410.

Facts:

This appeal arose from the appointment of a parenting coordinator. Parenting coordinators are often appointed to child custody cases when the parents absolutely cannot get along. Plaintiff and Defendant had a minor child together who was at the center of their custody dispute. The trial court’s finding was that the case had become “high conflict” and thus a parenting coordinator was appointed for a term of years. In 2019, Defendant filed a motion to appoint again and was met with a motion to dismiss. At the hearing on these motions in 2020, the trial court again labeled the case high conflict, denied the motion to dismiss, and then set out a future date for the appointment of a coordinator. Continue reading →

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If you are an intended parent who lives in a state that does not allow more than two persons to be named as legal parents on a child’s birth certificate, it is valuable to consider all your options when deciding the legal structure of your growing family. The law is not structured to deal with or protect non-traditional families, so existing legal structures have to be adapted and carefully applied to fit your situation. Because this is a complicated process and every non-traditional family is unique, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney to learn which options will be the best fit for your child before you take any steps to establish a parenting arrangement with three or more people. Continue reading →

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Sherri Papini was originally reported missing by her husband in November 2016 after she left their home in Shasta County, California to go for a jog and never returned. Three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, authorities found Papini on an interstate highway approximately 140 miles from home.  Continue reading →

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In the United States, fewer than half of the children live in a household with just their siblings and married parents. The other children live in a variety of relationships and family structures that often mean that more than two people act as parents in a child’s life. Continue reading →

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Webb v. Jarvis, 2022-NCCOA-499 (unpublished).

Facts:

This is a case for non-parent custody. Defendant Jarvis and Sarah Webb had a child together. They were not married. The parents shared custody of the minor child pursuant to a parenting agreement. In 2015, Sarah Webb unfortunately passed from cervical cancer. At the time Sarah died, she was living with her sister, Tina Peatross, the other Defendant in this case. Presumably, Sarah Webb exercised her custodial time at the Peatross home.

Before Sarah Webb died, she expressed her wishes that the minor child live with Peatross. Jarvis consented to Webb being a guardian for the minor child. In 2017, Jarvis was arrested for drug related charges and attained habitual felon status; it was his custodial weekend when he was arrested. Plaintiff Sarah Webb’s mother and father (minor child’s maternal grandparents) filed for visitation in 2017 prior to Jarvis’ arrests. Peatross counterclaimed for custody. Jarvis filed a motion to dismiss based on standing.

The trial court in 2020 found that Peatross had standing, and that Jarvis had acted inconsistent with constitutional parental rights. Jarvis appealed. Continue reading →

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Turner v. Oakley, 2022-NCCOA-266.

Facts: The parties to the case had one child together and never married. In 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint for custody of the child. He was granted secondary custody, with Defendant having primary custody. In 2018, Plaintiff filed an emergency custody ex parte motion, and alleged that there had been a substantial change in circumstances that affected the child’s welfare since the entry of the 2013 order. The trial court granted the emergency custody motion and, at the end of the hearing on emergency custody, granted Plaintiff primary physical and legal custody. Defendant was granted supervised visitation. Defendant moved for a visitation schedule in 2019. Orders were entered that addressed a visitation schedule. Then, in 2019, Defendant responded to Plaintiff’s custody motion filed in 2018. In 2020, the trial court entered orders modifying the 2013 child custody order, granting primary custody to Defendant. Plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

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Military Parents and Relocation

Part of being in the military is having very limited input as to where you are stationed. If you are a military parent who is not with your child’s other parent, this can mean moving far away from them. A move  like that can have a major impact on the custody of your children.

No matter where you are stationed, it is important to reach out to a civilian family law attorney when dealing with custody. Custody is civilian law, and your JAG corps will not be able to help you very much. Which court has jurisdiction over your child is usually based on where your child has lived for the past six months. If you have moved around often due to military service, it may be difficult to determine what court you should file in without the help of an experienced attorney. Continue reading →

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Custody and Deployment

Being deployed or stationed somewhere that your child cannot follow is a major stressor for parents in the military. How will your child do without you? What will your life be like without them around? If you are not with your child’s other parent, you also have another concern – what will happen to your custody arrangement while you are gone? Will the other parent allow your family members to maintain their relationships with your child? In case there isn’t already a plan in place for your deployment, the courts in North Carolina have a process to help you get any custody issues settled before you leave. Continue reading →

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Parents Stationed in the US

If you are a parent and a member of the US Military, we at Woodruff Family Law Group thank you for your service! If you are not with your child’s other parent, you are probably concerned about what your military service will mean for your custody agreement or custody battle. Being in the military limits where you can live, when you can have leave, and what your daily schedule will be. How will that impact your children? What will a court think about those impacts? Fortunately, the federal and North Carolina state governments have acted to provide you with some protections in these situations. Continue reading →

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A person who is or plans to be a parent and has been or is considering engaging in sex work, either legal or illegal, needs to consider how that work will impact any future custody cases. Despite recent movement toward decriminalization of prostitution and increasing acceptance of internet-based sex work, such as the use of platforms like OnlyFans, sex work and any other sexual behavior can and likely will be considered by a judge when determining child custody. But don’t despair! Sex work is only one of many factors considered and, with a strong defense, you can still get custody of your child. Continue reading →