In re C.V.D.C., 374 N.C. 525 (2020)

  • Facts: This appeal involves respondent mother’s challenge of the court’s conclusion that the TPR was in the children’s best interests. Mother’s argument involves the standard of review and the findings required by G.S. 7B-1110(a).
  • The standard of review, which the N.C. Supreme Court recently reaffirmed, is not a de novo standard of review as respondent argues but is an abuse of discretion standard, which recognizes the appellate court’s “long-standing deference to the trial courts in matters related to child custody.” Sl.Op. at 5. An abuse of discretion occurs when a trial court’s decision is “manifestly unsupported by reason or [is] so arbitrary that it could not have been the result of a reasoned decision.” Sl. Op. at 5-6 (citation omitted).
  • Whether a trail court failed to comply with the fact-finding requirements of G.S. 7B-1110(a) is a question of statutory interpretation that is reviewed de novo. A de novo review is when the appellate “court considers the matter anew and freely substitutes its own judgment for that of the [trial court.]” Sl.Op. at 7 (citation omitted).
  • G.S. 7B-1110(a) requires the court to consider all the factors but does not require written findings as to each factor; however, trial courts are encouraged to make written findings on all the statutory factors in G.S. 7B-1110(a). Relevant factors do not include uncontested issues, those which there is no conflict in the evidence. There was no reversible error when there were no findings regarding the uncontested evidence about the children’s likelihood of adoption and strong bond with the foster parents who wished to adopt them. There was no reversible error in not making a finding about the children’s bond with their mother when there was no evidence offered about that bond.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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