Articles Posted in Custody

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Defendant Mother appeals from the trial court’s order on child support and custody.  The Court of Appeals reverses and remands.

Plaintiff Father and Defendant Mother married on January 1, 1994.  The parties had two sons and separated on May 10, 1997.  The parties’ divorce judgment was filed on August 17, 1998, which incorporated their separation agreement.  The separation agreement provided a custodial schedule that directed the parties’ two sons to reside primarily with Defendant Mother and to spend every other weekend and summer vacation with Plaintiff Father.  The agreement further provided that Plaintiff Father would pay half of the children’s uninsured medical and dental expenses and $200.00 each month as additional child support. Continue reading →

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Argueta v. Baker, 137 A.D.3d 1020, 27 N.Y.S.3d 237 (2016)

There are times where parents do not effectively co-parent. There are even times where one parent goes out of their way to interfere in the parent-child relationship with the other parent. There are ways to enforce the controlling custody order, such as contempt. But New York seems to also have another avenue of relief, asking the court to terminate child support. Note: this is not North Carolina law, it is from New York. Continue reading →

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We’ve all experienced trying times during the pandemic. From school and business closures throwing a wrench in our daily plans to mask-wearing as the new normal, the pandemic has brought about many disputes and concerns, especially among divorced parents who share custody of their children. One Washington State father, Richard John Burke, is paying the price of his actions related to the pandemic after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree custodial interference in late August.

Burke shares three sons aged 6, 7, and 10 with his ex-wife. On March 24, Burke was supposed to return his three sons to their mother pursuant to a court-ordered parenting plan.  Instead he communicated to his ex-wife that he would be keeping his three sons for an additional four days.  Then, on March 28, Burke failed again to return the children to their mother. On March 29, the children’s school called the mother to let her know Burke had contacted them to state the children would no longer be attending school and to unenroll them immediately.

Burke pushed conspiracy theories about masks and the COVID-19 vaccine. He believed that the children’s school’s masking policy was “an absolute crime,” and also stated that one of his sons “will never be vaccinated again.” Upon deciding that he needed to take extraordinary measures to “protect his boys,” Burke fled with the three children. A judge authorized a $500,000 warrant for Burke’s arrest, and he was eventually taken into custody in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

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https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4248

Child Custody in North Carolina is based on which parent can best provide for the interests of the child. It is an oft repeated principle that ultimately decides the issue. Children are important and the court is required to scrutinize the parents in order to make this determination. It is so important that, if a custody order leaves out the final determination that a certain custodial schedule would serve the best interests of the child, it is typically immediately reversable. All that said, should pets get the same treatment? Continue reading →

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JACOBS V. DUDLEY, 2021-NCCOA-571 (19 October 2021).

Child custody can be hotly contested. Often people will have third parties (i.e., not the parents or guardians of the child) involved in some custody disputes. These people include teachers, doctors, therapists, and extended family members. Such individuals are often asked to come to court to expound on the parenting abilities of the parties, the child’s performance in school, and perhaps even the psychological state of the child. Choosing a good witness to introduce facts to the case is important. Below, we see an instance where one bad witness backfired. Continue reading →

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The trial court awarded Plaintiff-Father Issac Munoz primary physical custody of the parties’ daughter.  Defendant-Mother Cassandra Munoz appealed.  The parties married in 2012 and the minor child was born in 2015.  Mother was, and still is, a member of the United States Army.  In 2016, the Mother was stationed at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina.  When the minor child was born, both Mother and Father worked, but they relied on extended family to care for the minor child as opposed to placing the minor child in daycare.  While living in Fayetteville in 2018, the parties separated.  At the time, Mother was anticipating deployment to Iraq. Continue reading →

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Alaska’s Supreme Court recently decided an issue revolving around custody of a minor child born through artificial insemination to a same-sex couple. As same-sex marriages and reproductive technologies continue to be more commonplace, we are seeing an increase in cases that involve such parties. The law, as always, lags behind the times a few years, but it is imperative that the courts begin setting a precedent to allow such parties to adequately address the family law issues that have been so familiar in opposite-sex couples. Continue reading →

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Blackwell v. Blackwell 2021-NCCOA-537

  1. Facts: Mother and Father began a child custody action. Mother subpoenaed numerous mental health documents from healthcare providers. These documents would have purportedly been used at trial to establish Father’s mental health and substance abuse. In 2016, the parties had consented to a custody schedule in a memorandum of judgment. Before the formal written order was entered, Mother filed to modify custody because her job had moved to Pennsylvania. The formal order was entered in December of 2016. Mother then took the child to Pennsylvania with her in 2017. Father filed for ex parte emergency custody, modification of custody, and contempt. Mother requested that the trial court examine the mental health records. At trial, the judge did not admit those records as evidence, stating that he was not concerned with events prior to the entry of the custody order. Eventually, Father’s motions were granted, and he was awarded with permanent custody. Mother appealed.

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There is a mess of a custody case in Massachusetts (MA) that arose from a very reckless surrogacy situation. Apparently, a same-sex couple posted to social media asking for help having a baby. A friend then offered to conceive with her boyfriend (read: the baby would be biologically unrelated to the couple seeking help) and then give the baby to the couple. You might guess what happened next. The friend gave birth and then decided she wanted to keep the baby. The courts in MA decided that these events amounted to an informal surrogacy. The case has been ongoing since 2018. MA has no surrogacy statutes despite judges and advocates calling for enactment of surrogacy laws. The 2021 opinion from the MA Court of Appeals in this case actually begins with a plea to the legislature for guidance on surrogacy arrangements (surrogacy contracts). Continue reading →

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Snowden v. Jaure, (Wyoming Supreme Court)

With Covid-19 raging for over a year now, many families have been affected and often negatively. Job loss is just one consequence of the pandemic. This has caused a loss in income for many individuals. In families going through a custody case, it means that child support calculations are going to be affected. Now one state has litigated one such Covid-19 case all the way to their state’s supreme court. Continue reading →