In re Adoption of C.H.M., 249 N.C. App. 179 (2016), rev'd, 371 N.C. 22 (2018)

  • This opinion has been reversed by the N.C. Supreme Court in In re adoption of C.H.M., 371 N.C. 22 (2018)
  • G.S. 48-3-601 requires the consent of a putative father to the child’s adoption if before the adoption petition is filed he has (1) acknowledged paternity, (2) provided in accordance with his financial means, reasonable and consistent payments for the support of the mother (during or after her pregnancy), child, or both, and (3) regularly or attempted to regularly visit or communicate with the mother (during or after her pregnancy), child, or both. The father’s consent was required when he (1) acknowledged paternity, (2) regularly deposited cash ($3,260) into a lockbox he kept at his home for the exclusive purpose of supporting the child (after the mother had refused to accept offers of financial support from the father), and (3) regularly communicated with the mother via Facebook messages.
  • A formal record of payments made for the support of the child is not required. There was competent evidence in the record that the father provided regular support for the child when the district court found the father’s testimony credible. The father testified that he began to save money for the child by placing cash in a lockbox, rather than comingle those funds with his bank account from which he paid his monthly expenses. The father also introduced bank statements showing cash withdrawals.
  • The application of child support guidelines in determining whether a father’s support is reasonable is not required but is instead within the court’s discretion.    
Adoption of a Minor Child
Unwed Father
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