In re A.M.O., 375 N.C. 717 (2020)

  • Facts: Because of a permanent plan of adoption in an underlying neglect action, DSS initiated a TPR against respondent mother. The TPR was granted on 3 grounds, and respondent mother appeals, challenging the court’s determination that TPR is in the child’s best interests and that a de novo review should be applied and that guardianship instead of adoption requiring a TPR should have been considered by the trial court.
  • Standard of review of best interests is not de novo as respondent argues. This court has “unanimously ‘reaffirm[ed] our application of an abuse of discretion standard of review to the trial court’s determination of ‘whether terminating the parent’s rights is in the juvenile’s best interest[s.]’ ’ ” 7 (quotations omitted).
  • “Given respondent’s tactical choice to disregard what she acknowledges to be the existing standard of review in favor of an argument based entirely on this Court’s adoption of a new standard, we conclude our analysis here.” Sl.Op. at 8. Nevertheless, in reviewing the evidence and order, there was no abuse of discretion.
  • Despite a strong bond between the parent and child, that is only one factor the court considers under G.S. 7B-1110, and the trial court may give greater weight to other factors. In this case, as with other cases with a similar argument, the court made detailed dispositional findings of the G.S. 7B-1110(a) factors and gave a reasoned basis for its conclusion of law that TPR was in the child’s best interests to be adopted.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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