In re K.N.K., 374 N.C. 50 (2020)

  • Facts: In 2017, mother filed a petition to terminate father’s parental rights on the ground of willful abandonment. Prior to the TPR petition, in 2015, a child custody order awarded mother sole care, custody, and control of the child and twice monthly supervised visitation with father. Mother had a DVPO against father from 2014 – 2018. From 2015- 2018, the DVPO included the child but allowed for supervised visitation. The court ordered the TPR and father appealed both the ground and best interests determinations.
  • At disposition, the court applies the best interests of the child standard, “without regard to any competing interests of respondent. “An adjudication of grounds for terminating parental rights under N.C.G.S. 7B-111(a) constitutes a determination by the trial court that the respondent-parent is unfit or has acted inconsistently with his constitutionally protected status with regard to the subject juvenile.” Sl.Op. at 15.
  • The best interests determination is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Dispositional findings are reviewed on a competent evidence standard. There were detailed findings for each of the factors set forth in G.S. 7B-1110 based on the evidence. In one challenged finding that there was no bond between the child and respondent, the evidence supports there is no child-parent bond. Regarding the father’s testimony about his prior conduct to his child, there court determined the father’s testimony was not credible. There is no abuse of discretion.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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