In re M.R.F., 378 N.C. 638 (2021)

  • Facts: A TPR was ordered and father appeals, challenging the adjudication as the court did not state the standard of proof it applied at adjudication.
  • In examining G.S. 7B-1109(f) and relying on In re B.L.H., 376 N.C. 118 (2020), the trial court is required to announce the standard of proof it is applying on the record in a TPR adjudication. The announcement requirement occurs when the court either announces the “clear, cogent, and convincing” evidence standard in its findings made in open court or in the findings of fact in the written TPR order. The court failed to announce the standard in either open court or the written order.
  • When there is competent evidence to support a finding for a TPR ground, the appropriate remedy is to vacate and remand for new findings and conclusions based on the clear, cogent, and convincing standard. In this case, no sufficient evidence existed for any of the grounds. Reversed without remand.
Termination of Parental Rights
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