In re D.L.P., 242 N.C. App. 597 (2015)

Vacated and Remanded

  • When a court determines a respondent parent is incompetent and requires a Rule 17 GAL, the court may not proceed with a hearing if the appointed substitute GAL is not present.
  • In this case, the record does not reflect when the court determined the respondent mother required a substitute GAL. The respondent mother was not present at the adjudication hearing and had not communicated with her attorney. It appears a GAL was appointed to the mother because of her erratic and harmful behavior at the disposition hearing along with evidence of her difficulties that resulted from a traumatic brain injury. Because the timing of the court’s determination of the mother’s need for a GAL is unknown, and the GAL appointed for the respondent mother was not present at the adjudication or disposition hearings, the orders adjudicating the juveniles neglected and dependent and the disposition orders are vacated. Case is remanded for further proceedings.


Termination of Parental Rights
GAL for Respondent Parent
GAL Presence at Hearing
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