In re A.A., 381 N.C. 325 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2013, petitioner married father and resided with him and his daughter. In 2017, petitioner and father separated. In 2018, petitioner obtained a custody order awarding her exclusive legal and physical custody. In 2019, Petitioner filed a TPR petition against mother. The TPR was granted and mother appeals. One of her challenges is that petitioner lacked standing because she did not specifically alleged the juvenile had lived with petitioner for 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the TPR petition and there were not findings of fact about how long the child lived with the petitioner.
  • Standing implicates subject matter jurisdiction. When a person’s standing is challenged, the record must include evidence that is sufficient to support a finding of standing.
  • The Juvenile Code does not require specific language in a TPR petition regarding standing nor does it require specific findings of fact regarding standing. The record shows the juvenile resided continuously with petitioner for more than the requisite time period. Petitioner alleged she and the juvenile’s father had primary custody of the child while they were married (2015-2019) and that the child continued to reside with petitioner after the marriage ended and up to the date of the TPR petition being filed. The court took judicial notice of several trial court orders (civil custody orders) which showed petitioner had standing. There was no evidence the juvenile did not live with petitioner at any time during the relevant time period.
Termination of Parental Rights
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