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 →
With many North Carolina families forced to spend more time together as a result of lockdowns or unemployment from COVID-19, some couples are finding they no longer want to be married. Spouses are experiencing fear of being exposed to COVID, fighting over finances, and many other minor issues. If you find yourself in this situation, one of the first steps in the divorce process is to legally separate from your spouse. If you are not sure of how to become legally separated, seek the advice of a family law attorney. 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 re C.V.D.C. and C.D.C., _______NC________ (2020).
In North Carolina, for a Termination of Parental Rights petition to succeed, a set of factors set out in N.C.G.S section 7B-1110(a) must be weighed by the court. If the balance of those factors favors termination, the trial court has discretion to do so for the best interests of the child. But does the court need to write down those specific findings? And what if you wanted to appeal their decision? Below, we discuss a case that addresses the manner in which appellate courts review such decisions of the lower courts, and whether or not a court is required to make written findings. 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 →