Can the court terminate a parent’s rights for willful abandonment of the children? Are there steps a parent estranged from his child can take to ensure this doesn’t happen? In a recent North Carolina appellate decision, the court considered willful abandonment and termination of parental rights. The case arose when the parents of two minor kids separated in 2010 just before the second child was born. The mother sued for custody, child support, and alimony. The father didn’t go to the custody proceedings, and the mother was given sole custody of the kids with reasonable visitation for the father who lived in a different state.
Can a lower court restrict your use of your passport in a North Carolina child custody order? In a recent North Carolina case, the defendant appealed from the court’s denial of his motion for reconsideration and relief from a 2015 child custody and support order. The defendant was a Poland-born American citizen. He and his wife had one minor child. They separated in 2013 and were divorced in a 2014 judgment. Continue reading →
In North Carolina, custody can be modified when there is a substantial change of circumstances, but importantly, this change need not be adverse. A positive change can also be the basis for a modification of North Carolina child custody. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered modification of custody in a child’s best interest at a grandparent’s request. The case arose from the modification of a 2012 custody order. The plaintiffs were the paternal grandparents of two children, and the plaintiff’s son was the children’s father. The children’s mother had gotten married since an earlier order of the court and her interests were opposed to the father and grandparents’ interests. Continue reading →
Sometimes parents disagree as to the best course of treatment for a child’s mental health or health condition, or with regard to education. These issues came up in a recent North Carolina child custody appellate decision, in which a father appealed the court’s order giving a mother primary physical custody of their child, while only giving him secondary physical custody. The court had given the parents joint legal custody but gave the mother final decision making powers with regard to education and healthcare while the father retained final decision making powers with regard to sports. Continue reading →
In a recent unpublished opinion of a North Carolina child support decision, a court considered a child support order involving a mother who was voluntarily unemployed. The father had appealed from the lower court’s child support order claiming that the lower court had made a mistake in concluding as a matter of law that only the defendant father owed the obligation to give support to the couple’s minor children and by failing to impute income to the mother who was voluntarily unemployed. Continue reading →
A 529 Savings Plan allows parents to put aside money for their kids’ college expenses under tax-favorable conditions. How should trial courts classify the money in a 529 Savings Plan that is created and funded during marriage when a couple is getting a divorce? Continue reading →
In a recent appellate court decision that discusses an aspect of North Carolina custody law, a mother appealed from an order that granted her and the father joint custody of teenage children pending the start of a reunification program. The program was supposed to fix the kids’ relationship to their father, which the court determined was damaged by the mother’s alienating conduct. Continue reading →
Growing up in a tiny town near Greensboro, N.C., I can remember being a kid and playing in the yard, getting skinned knees and bee stings. That’s what we did “back then.” I remember picking up pecans and climbing trees and riding my bike. We had a rotary dial telephone. What is that you ask? It’s a telephone that had a dial with holes in that had a handset attached to it with a curly cord, and the entire thing was attached to another cord that made it work! We did not have air conditioning until I was about 12 years old. Window fans were placed in our windows to draw the hot air out of the house, and indoor box fans blew hot air around inside the house. We had a gravel driveway, and I sometimes had to help fill in holes in the driveway with a rake or a shovel so we wouldn’t blow a car tire driving in and out of it. Listen to this; we did not have a weedeater!!! I can, believe it or not, remember using handheld clippers and having to go around the outside of the house and flower beds and trim the weeds BY HAND!! Continue reading →
The custodial parent must not decrease the status of the other parent in the child’s eyes. That is fundamental.
Also fundamental: Do not place the child in the middle of the parent’s dispute. Continue reading →