In re S.Z.H., 247 N.C. App. 254 (2016)

Held: 
Reversed

  • For a TPR based on willful abandonment that occurs during the  statutory required 6 month period preceding the filing of the action, petitioner must “show more than a failure of the parent to live up to his/her obligations as a parent in an appropriate fashion; the findings must clearly show that the parent’s actions are wholly inconsistent with a desire to maintain custody of the child,” which is “a purposeful,  deliberative and manifest willful determination to forego all parental duties and relinquish all parental claims to the child” (emphasis supplied, citing In re S.R.G., 195 N.C. App. 79, 84-88 (1986)). The findings do not support the conclusion of abandonment.
  • When testimony from both the petitioner and respondent show that the respondent called the child during the first half of the relevant 6 month time period for the ground of abandonment found at G.S. 7B-1111(a)(7) and the respondent asked petitioner if he could see the child on her birthday, which was also during the relevant 6 month period, there is no clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to support the court’s findings that the respondent failed to maintain communication  showing his love, care, and concern for the child.

 

Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Abandonment
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