Few family law matters are as contentious as child custody or as distressing as child abuse. Custody battles between biological parents can become intense as parties sometimes passionately disagree about what’s best for their child. These disputes increase in complexity when third parties seek custody due to parental neglect or abuse. Continue reading →
Drum v. Drum, 2022-NCCOA-448.
Facts: Plaintiff is the maternal grandmother of a minor child. Defendants are the biological mother and father of the minor child. Notably, Defendant Mother was not a party to the appeal; only Defendant Father appealed.
The minor child at issue in this custody case had been living with Plaintiff since she was six to eight months old. Defendant Father visited the minor child less after Defendant Mother and the minor child moved in with Plaintiff. Defendant Mother had a drug problem and was not present for extended periods of the minor child’s life.
Plaintiff and her ex-husband were the primary caretakers for the minor child. They handled schooling, homework, vacations, etc. Defendant Father was a truck driver who was on the road most days during the week. He had never been a consistent presence in the minor child’s life. He also accumulated over $10,000 in child support arrears. Defendant Father never sought custody or visitation until court proceedings began.
Plaintiff filed for custody and was awarded primary physical custody and joint legal custody. Defendant Father appealed. Continue reading →
Wayne Hopper, Legal Assistant
Graham v. Jones
Child custody issues can be confusing and difficult to navigate. This is especially true when grandparents seek custody of a grandchild. Grandparents find themselves with questions regarding child custody and their rights and often do not know where to begin. Would it be best to seek custody or visitation? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of each? Which is likely to be more successful? North Carolina case law can answer those questions. Decisions made by N.C. courts establish legal precedents which help guide courts in making decisions on similar issues today. For grandparents seeking custody or visitation due to the death of their own child (a biological parent of the child in question) and parental fitness of the surviving parent, the case of Graham v. Jones may provide some guidance. 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 →
Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).
Child custody orders are modifiable. In order modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in the previous order, that warrants modification. In some cases, primary physical custody is awarded to a nonparent. Most often, this nonparent is a relative, such as a grandparent. Below, we discuss a case where a parent was granted primary physical custody from the grandparents, and we address the legal standard for how to get there. 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 →