In re J.M.K., ___ N.C. App. ___, 820 S.E.2d 106 (2018)

Held: 
Reversed
  • Facts: The case involves a private termination of parental rights action initiated by the mother against the father. The petition alleged failure to pay child support and failure to legitimate, G.S. 7B-1111(a)(4) & (5) as grounds. Respondent father’s rights were terminated on the grounds of abandonment, failure to pay child support, and failure to legitimate, and he appeals.
  • Standard of review is whether clear, cogent, and convincing evidence supports the findings of fact, and whether the findings of fact support the conclusion of law adjudicating the ground to TPR. The findings and conclusions must “reveal the reasoning which led to the court’s ultimate decision.” Sl. Op. at 3.
  • A court may terminate a father’s parental rights to a child born out of wedlock when the father, prior to the filing of the TPR petition (or motion) fails to take any of the enumerated actions set forth in G.S. 7B-1111(a)(5). The trial court must make specific findings of fact for each of the 5 subsections. Here, the trial court only made findings addressing subsections (a), (c), and (d) and did not address subsections (b) (legitimate the child through G.S. 49-10 or -12.1) and (e) (“establish paternity” through one of the designated statutes or other judicial proceeding).
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Father to Child Out-of-Wedlock
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