In re J.A.U., 242 N.C. App. 603 (2015)

Held: 
Vacated

  • Maternal grandmother who had custody of child pursuant to a G.S. Chapter 50 custody order is not a “judicially appointed guardian of the person of the juvenile,” and therefore, does not having standing to initiate a TPR pursuant to G.S. 7B-1103(a)(2). Despite the 2013 change in the definition of “custodian” under the Juvenile Code, the Code still recognizes a distinction between guardian and custodian. Only a guardian has standing to initiate a TPR.
  • The evidence does not support the court’s finding that the child lived with the petitioner for most of the child’s life and instead supports a finding that the child lived with the petitioner for less than one year before the TPR petition was filed. G.S. 7B-1103(a)(5) requires a child to have continuously resided with the petitioner for two years preceding the filing of the TPR petition.  The statutory standard is not based on the relationship between the child and petitioner but is instead based on the time the child resided with the petitioner prior to filing the petition.
  • Standing is a threshold issue and without proper standing by a petitioner for TPR, a court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the action.

 

Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Standing
Topic:
Custodian
Tags:
Click on a term below for additional case summaries tagged with the same term.