We all love a good Mulan-esque warrior story with a happy ending. Family law attorneys have seen it all and are the warriors and champions of family law related issues. Delving into the chaotic family disputes that clients present daily means almost nothing could come as a surprise. Yet, when a Kansas man challenged his Iowa ex-wife to a trial by sword fight to settle their child custody dispute, it appeared that there may indeed be something new under the sun.
If you plan to file a child custody action in North Carolina, you will be required to participate in a Custody Mediation Program. Each district in North Carolina has specific operational procedures laid out in their local rules, and the rules for each county can be viewed online at www.NCcourts.gov. Continue reading →
We’ve all seen videos such as this one on the highly addictive TikTok app depicting parents dropping their kids off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house to achieve some much needed alone time. Ever since the Piedmont Triad began experiencing the monumental effects of COVID-19 in early March, both kids and parents alike are eager to experience a change of scenery from the all too familiar rooms of their own home. However, staying at home has become the new norm. It appears we will have ample time to become even more acquainted with our home offices as Guilford County Schools recently announced the 2020-2021 academic year will begin with remote learning through at least October 20, 2020. Continue reading →
Steele v. Steele, 36 N.C.App. 601 (1978).
In North Carolina and nationwide, character evidence is generally inadmissible in civil trials. Evidence of character and past conduct is not indicative of future conduct and cannot be used to prove that a party acted or will act in conformity with that character trait or past conduct (save for some exceptions). But in a trial for custody, can the court admit evidence of one parent’s character and past acts to show they are better suited to be the custodial parent? In the case below, the appeal court held that a trial court must make findings as follows:
- Facts: Mother and Father had a claim and hearing on child custody, among other matters. The child custody order as drafted by the trial court judge was deficient in findings of fact and conclusions of law. Mother actually conceded that indeed that order was deficient and joined in the appeal seeking remand and further findings.
In North Carolina, a parent can lose custody over their minor children to the children’s grandparents. One way this can happen is by Order of the Court in a child custody proceeding. Child custody is never permanent, and below we discuss a way for parents to regain custody by motion to the Court. Continue reading →
Davis v. Davis, 748 S.E.2d 594 (N.C. App. 2013)
Here we examine a North Carolina Court of Appeals case where the Defendant appealed the trial court denial of a motion to modify custody and a motion to hold the Plaintiff in contempt of court. For this article, we will focus only on the denial of the Motion for Contempt. Continue reading →
IN THE MATTER OF: J.M. (No. COA19-421)
Under certain circumstances, a court will remove children from the custodial care and control of a biological parent and place them with a foster family. The court then develops primary and secondary case plans. The case plans consider the children’s best interests and whether the parent is deemed fit or unfit. Courts strive to reunify the children with a biological parent, but in cases where courts determine a parent is unfit, adoption and/or foster families are appropriate alternatives. The case below reveals key findings the trial court needs to make before ceasing reunification efforts between a Mother and her child. Continue reading →
When a marriage ends, many former couples carry hurt, anger, grief, resentment, and hostility towards each other. Some former spouses cannot let go of these feelings even after the divorce. What happens to the children of these marriages when those feelings carry over into their post-separation lives? Continue reading →
Padilla v. Whitley De Padilla, COA19-478 (2020) (unpublished).
Child custody orders are modifiable. In order to do so, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change from the circumstances found in previous order that warrant the modification. It may seem obvious that a diminishment in the custodial parent’s life may meet that threshold. But below, we discuss a case where improvements in the noncustodial parent’s life warranted a modification in his favor, granting him more time with his kids and more decision-making abilities. Continue reading →
Routten v. Routten, ______ N.C. _______ (2020).
Child Custody can be a hotly contested issue in divorce cases with minor children involved. In certain instances, a court can award sole custody to one parent and even deny visitation to the noncustodial parent. That determination is severe and, by law, must be substantiated by a factual basis for the denial. But what basis is required? Below, we discuss how one court did so, and the ensuing legal confusion that required the North Carolina Supreme Court to step in. Continue reading →