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 the evidence does not support the findings and the findings do not support the conclusion of willful abandonment.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(7) authorizes a termination of parental rights when a parent willfully abandons their child for the 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the TPR petition. A parent’s conduct implies the parent’s willful determination to forego all parental duties and relinquish all parental claims.
  • The findings of fact are supported by the evidence and support the conclusion. Although mother did have some contact with the child, it was outside the determinative time period. Although mother had a child support wage garnishment, she was aware that garnishment was going to father while he was incarcerated, father and petitioner had separated, and the child remained with petitioner.
Termination of Parental Rights
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