In re J.T.C., 273 N.C. App. 66 (2020), affirmed per curiam, 376 N.C. 642 (2021)

Held: 
Affirmed
There is a dissent.
  • Facts: Respondent father appeals this 2018 private TPR order granted on the grounds of neglect and willful abandonment (G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1), (7)). This appeal was before the court of appeals as the appeal was filed prior to Jan. 1, 2019 when appeals of TPRs are before the NC Supreme Court).
  • The findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence and the findings support the conclusion that the respondent father willfully abandoned the juvenile during the determinative 6-month period. Efforts made by father’s relatives and wife do not preclude an adjudication of abandonment by father when he has the means to take efforts to maintain his relationship with his child and take on parental responsibilities and fails to do so.
  • G.S. 7B-1110(a) sets forth the best interests factors for the court to consider. Although a permanent plan is not part of this private TPR, the brief mention of a permanent plan in the findings is not an abuse of discretion. Relevant considerations under G.S. 7B-1110(a)(6) included father’s history of domestic violence, criminal record, and ongoing use of substances.
  • Dissent based on best interests findings being erroneous resulting in an abuse of discretion.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Abandonment
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