In re K.N.K., ___ N.C. ___ (April 3, 2020)

Held: 
Affirmed
  • 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.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Disposition
Topic:
Best Interests Findings
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