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 →
Graham v. Jones, 270 N.C. App. 674 (2020).
In North Carolina, grandparents have the ability to have their concerns for custody and visitation heard by the courts. Our statutes allow any parent, relative, or other person claiming a right to custody to institute an action for child custody. Grandparents are relatives of the minor child, and thus have standing to file for custody. But the laws surrounding grandparent custody and visitation are extremely nuanced as a result of being developed over many years of case law. Below is one case that summarizes this area of law. 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Padilla v. Whitley De Padilla, COA19-478 (2020) (unpublished).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 →
Hamdan v. Freitekh, ______ N.C. App. _______ (2020) (COA19-929).
Here in North Carolina, and across the nation, the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) sets the jurisdictional rules for how and where custody orders are enforced. The cardinal rule in custody cases has always been, and continues to be, adjudicated with the best interests of the child in mind. The UCCJEA aligns with that cardinal by preventing parents from forum shopping, instead ordering that disputes be litigated in the state with which the child and family have the closest ties. Continue reading →