In re M.N., ___ N.C. App. ___, 816 S.E.2d 925 (2018)

Held: 
No Error
  • Facts: This is an appeal of adjudication of neglect and initial dispositional order that terminates the appellants’ (grandparents) 2009 guardianship order, which was entered in an earlier abuse and neglect proceeding pursuant to G.S. 7B-600. Prior to the entry of that guardianship order in the first abuse and neglect action, the grandparents had been awarded legal and physical custody of the child. This second petition, which alleged neglect and dependency, was based on the grandparents’ arrests on multiple drug-related charges. DSS argues there is a deficiency in the 2009 guardianship order such that the grandparents are caretakers and lack standing under G.S. 7B-1002 to appeal.
  • G.S. 7B-1002 specifies those parties that have a right to appeal and includes “a guardian appointed under G.S. 7B-600 or Chapter 35A of the General Statutes, or a custodian as defined in G.S. 7B-101 who is a nonprevailing party.”
  • A dispositional order in a prior action is not subject to collateral attack in a subsequent action when the basis to void the order is non-jurisdictional. At the time this action was filed, the grandparents were guardians as a result of the 2009 order and under G.S. 7B-401.1(c) are parties to this action with standing to appeal as the nonprevailing party under G.S. 7B-1002. Even if the guardianship order was void, the earlier custody order made the grandparents custodians as defined by G.S. 7B-101(8). As custodians, the grandparents are parties to the first and second proceedings under G.S. 7B-401.1(d). As nonprevailing custodians, they have a right to appeal the adjudication and initial dispositional orders under G.S. 7B-1002.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Appeal
Topic:
Standing
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