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  1. #16
    Astral Guest
    I know.

    I'd have to get a loan from someone. My parents have been helping me out as much as they can, but I don't think they'd be able to loan me enough. They are retired, and have to budget very carefully. My boyfriend's parents are even worse off than we are (if that's at all possible).

    My boyfriend's boss might be willing to loan him some money, but that opens up a whole new can of worms (we're not sure what, but he might be doing something like tax evasion, or something... we don't want to be able to be tied to him any more than necessary, and if bio. father's parents were to get wind of it, who knows if they could use it against me?)

    We've already taken out so much in student loans, we wouldn't be able to do anything through the banks...

    We don't have any credit cards (thank god, we'd probably be in debt for tens of thousands by now).

    I don't know... am I missing anything?

    I'm trying right now to get a ride from someone to go to the attorney's office... it's listed on her card... That was a good idea... if I can just get down there, I *will* make them help me.

    Thanks. :-)

    Last edited by Astral; 03-04-2004 at 03:00 PM.
  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Ok, first off, no, they don't have to have proof you recieved it the summons. If someone took it on your behalf then they consider you served. Been down that road. Next time someone comes looking for you to get you served, you tell the person to tell the Sheriff they will not accept it. Their name is not on that summons so I would tell them that, tell them to have a nice day and shut the door. There is no law saying they have to take it and the Bar Association and Legal Aid told me to do the same thing.

    Second, they can't terminate your rights because you haven't paid child support in 6 months. The law specifically says 1 YEAR of not paying child support is grounds, NOT 6 MONTHS, so you can fight that. Also try to get the cancelled check to take to court to show proof it has been paid. You also need to find out where to send support to.

    If you want copies of everything, get the case numbers from your Dad, go down to the courthouse where they keep these records, look it up and tell them you want copies. Of course it will cost you.

    Make sure you go to court! Do not miss it! Ask for a continuance because you are trying to get an attorney. Better yet, tell them you need a court appointed one since you have the right to one in this matter. If you are not qualified to get one (you have to qualify to get a court appointed attorney) then ask for the continuance.

    Call the NC Bar Association Lawyer Referral, try to go ahead and get a consult. If you call them, tell them you need a family law attorney in whatever county the case is in and you will only have to pay $30 or $35 for the consult. It's 1-800-662-7660.

    I would also go to court and request more visitation and make sure you set up specific days and times and stuff. You should have talked to a private family law attorney instead of the DA. Always get a second opinion anyway.

    I'm going to give you some websites and I want you to research them thoroughly so you can educate yourself so that they don't walk all over you.

    [url]www.ncchildsupport.com[/url] This has the guidelines, worksheets and it tells how much support you should be paying based on your income.

    [url]www.deltabravo.net[/url] It has good info on all aspects of family law, so does [url]www.findlaw.com[/url]

    [url]www.nccourts.org[/url] or [url]www.nccourt.org[/url] not sure which one. It provides forms if you need them.

    [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl[/url] the state website to the state statutes.

    By the way, if somehow your rights do get terminated, you are no longer responsible for child support. So whoever is collecting it, you will need to send them a copy of the court documents stating your rights were terminated.

    You may want to look at this. I guess they would be considered the child's legal gaurdian?
    § 7B-1103. Who may file a petition or motion.
    (a)A petition or motion to terminate the parental rights
    of either or both parents to his, her, or their minor juvenile
    may only be filed by one or more of the following:
    (1) Either parent seeking termination of the right of
    the other parent.
    (2) Any person who has been judicially appointed as the
    guardian of the person of the juvenile.
    (3) Any county department of social services,
    consolidated county human services agency, or
    licensed child-placing agency to whom custody of
    the juvenile has been given by a court of competent
    (4) Any county department of social services,
    consolidated county human services agency, or
    licensed child-placing agency to which the juvenile
    has been surrendered for adoption by one of the
    parents or by the guardian of the person of the
    juvenile, pursuant to G.S. 48-3-701.
    (5) Any person with whom the juvenile has resided for a
    continuous period of two years or more next
    preceding the filing of the petition or motion.
    (6) Any guardian ad litem appointed to represent the
    minor juvenile pursuant to G.S. 7B-601 who has not
    been relieved of this responsibility.
    (7) Any person who has filed a petition for adoption
    pursuant to Chapter 48 of the General Statutes.
    (b) Any person or agency that may file a petition under
    subsection (a) of this section may intervene in a pending abuse,
    neglect, or dependency proceeding for the purpose of filing a
    motion to terminate parental rights. (1977, c. 879, s. 8; 1983,
    c. 870, s. 1; 1985, c. 758, s. 1; 1987, c. 371, s. 2; 1995 (Reg.
    Sess., 1996), c. 690, s. 4; 1998-202, s. 6; 1998-229, s. 9.1;
    1999-456, s. 60; 2000-183, s. 4.)

    § 7B-1104. Petition or motion.
    The petition, or motion pursuant to G.S. 7B-1102, shall
    be verified by the petitioner or movant and shall be entitled
    "In Re (last name of juvenile), a minor juvenile"; and shall set
    forth such of the following facts as are known; and with respect
    to the facts which are unknown the petitioner or movant shall so

    (1) The name of the juvenile as it appears on the
    juvenile's birth certificate, the date and place of
    birth, and the county where the juvenile is
    presently residing.
    (2) The name and address of the petitioner or movant
    and facts sufficient to identify the petitioner or
    movant as one authorized by G.S. 7B-1103 to file a
    petition or motion.
    (3) The name and address of the parents of the
    juvenile. If the name or address of one or both
    parents is unknown to the petitioner or movant, the
    petitioner or movant shall set forth with
    particularity the petitioner's or movant's efforts
    to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the
    parent or parents. The information may be contained
    in an affidavit attached to the petition or motion
    and incorporated therein by reference.
    (4) The name and address of any person who has been
    judicially appointed as guardian of the person of
    the juvenile.
    (5) The name and address of any person or agency to
    whom custody of the juvenile has been given by a
    court of this or any other state; and a copy of the
    custody order shall be attached to the petition or
    (6) Facts that are sufficient to warrant a
    determination that one or more of the grounds for
    terminating parental rights exist.
    (7) That the petition or motion has not been filed to
    circumvent the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter
    50A of the General Statutes, the Uniform
    Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
    (1977, c. 879, s. 8; 1979, c. 110, s. 8; 1981, c.
    469, s. 23; 1987, c. 550, s. 15; 1998-202, s. 6;
    1999-223, s. 7; 1999-456, s. 60; 2000-183, s. 5.)

    § 7B-1107. Failure of parent to answer or respond.
    Upon the failure of a respondent parent to file written
    answer to the petition or written response to the motion within
    30 days after service of the summons and petition or notice and
    motion, or within the time period established for a defendant's
    reply by G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1) if service is by publication, the
    court may issue an order terminating all parental and custodial
    rights of that parent with respect to the juvenile; provided the
    court shall order a hearing on the petition or motion and may
    examine the petitioner or movant or others on the facts alleged
    in the petition or motion. (1977, c. 879, s. 8; 1979, c. 525, s.
    3; 1987, c. 282, s. 2; 1998-202, s. 6; 1998-229, s. 10;
    1999-456, s. 60; 2000-183, s. 7.)

    I think I will start another post in case I run out of room.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    § 7B-1108. Answer or response of parent.
    (a)Any respondent may file a written answer to the
    petition or written response to the motion. The answer or
    response shall admit or deny the allegations of the petition or
    motion and shall set forth the name and address of the answering
    respondent or the respondent's attorney.
    (b) If an answer or response denies any material allegation
    of the petition or motion, the court shall appoint a guardian ad
    litem for the juvenile to represent the best interests of the
    juvenile, unless the petition or motion was filed by the
    guardian ad litem pursuant to G.S. 7B-1103, or a guardian ad
    litem has already been appointed pursuant to G.S. 7B-601. A
    licensed attorney shall be appointed to assist those guardians
    ad litem who are not attorneys licensed to practice in North
    Carolina. The appointment, duties, and payment of the guardian
    ad litem shall be the same as in G.S. 7B-601 and G.S. 7B-603,
    but in no event shall a guardian ad litem who is trained and
    supervised by the guardian ad litem program be appointed to any
    case unless the juvenile is or has been the subject of a
    petition for abuse, neglect, or dependency or with good cause
    shown the local guardian ad litem program consents to the
    appointment. The court shall conduct a special hearing after
    notice of not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days given by
    the petitioner or movant to the respondent who answered or
    responded, and the guardian ad litem for the juvenile to
    determine the issues raised by the petition and answer or motion
    and response.

    (There is more to that.)

    § 7B-1111. Grounds for terminating parental rights.
    (a)The court may terminate the parental rights upon a
    finding of one or more of the following:
    (1) The parent has abused or neglected the juvenile.
    The juvenile shall be deemed to be abused or
    neglected if the court finds the juvenile to be an
    abused juvenile within the meaning of G.S. 7B-101
    or a neglected juvenile within the meaning of G.S.
    (2) The parent has willfully left the juvenile in
    foster care or placement outside the home for more
    than 12 months without showing to the satisfaction
    of the court that reasonable progress under the
    circumstances has been made in correcting those
    conditions which led to the removal of the
    juvenile. Provided, however, that no parental
    rights shall be terminated for the sole reason that
    the parents are unable to care for the juvenile on
    account of their poverty.
    (3) The juvenile has been placed in the custody of a
    county department of social services, a licensed
    child-placing agency, a child-caring institution,
    or a foster home, and the parent, for a continuous
    period of six months next preceding the filing of
    the petition or motion, has willfully failed for
    such period to pay a reasonable portion of the cost
    of care for the juvenile although physically and
    financially able to do so.
    (4) One parent has been awarded custody of the juvenile
    by judicial decree or has custody by agreement of
    the parents, and the other parent whose parental
    rights are sought to be terminated has for a period
    of one year or more next preceding the filing of
    the petition or motion willfully failed without
    justification to pay for the care, support, and
    education of the juvenile, as required by said
    decree or custody agreement.
    (5) The father of a juvenile born out of wedlock has
    not, prior to the filing of a petition or motion to
    terminate parental rights:
    a. Established paternity judicially or by
    affidavit which has been filed in a central
    registry maintained by the Department of
    Health and Human Services; provided, the court
    shall inquire of the Department of Health and
    Human Services as to whether such an affidavit
    has been so filed and shall incorporate into
    the case record the Department's certified
    reply; or
    b. Legitimated the juvenile pursuant to
    provisions of G.S. 49-10 or filed a petition
    for this specific purpose; or
    c. Legitimated the juvenile by marriage to the
    mother of the juvenile; or
    d. Provided substantial financial support or
    consistent care with respect to the juvenile
    and mother.
    (6) That the parent is incapable of providing for the
    proper care and supervision of the juvenile, such
    that the juvenile is a dependent juvenile within
    the meaning of G.S. 7B-101, and that there is a
    reasonable probability that such incapability will
    continue for the foreseeable future. Incapability
    under this subdivision may be the result of
    substance abuse, mental retardation, mental
    illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other cause
    or condition that renders the parent unable or
    unavailable to parent the juvenile and the parent
    lacks an appropriate alternative child care
    (7) The parent has willfully abandoned the juvenile for
    at least six consecutive months immediately
    preceding the filing of the petition or motion, or
    the parent has voluntarily abandoned an infant
    pursuant to G.S. 7B-500 for at least 60 consecutive
    days immediately preceding the filing of the
    petition or motion.
    (8) The parent has committed murder or voluntary
    manslaughter of another child of the parent or
    other child residing in the home; has aided,
    abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to
    commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the
    child, another child of the parent, or other child
    residing in the home; or has committed a felony
    assault that results in serious bodily injury to
    the child, another child of the parent, or other
    child residing in the home. The petitioner has the
    burden of proving any of these offenses in the
    termination of parental rights hearing by (i)
    proving the elements of the offense or (ii)
    offering proof that a court of competent
    jurisdiction has convicted the parent of the
    offense, whether or not the conviction was by way
    of a jury verdict or any kind of plea.
    (9) The parental rights of the parent with respect to
    another child of the parent have been terminated
    involuntarily by a court of competent jurisdiction
    and the parent lacks the ability or willingness to
    establish a safe home.
    (b) The burden in such proceedings shall be upon the
    petitioner or movant to prove the facts justifying such
    termination by clear and convincing evidence. (1977, c. 879, s.
    8; 1979, c. 669, s. 2; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1088, s. 2; c. 1206,
    s. 2; 1983, c. 89, s. 2; c. 512; 1985, c. 758, ss. 2, 3; c. 784;
    1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 941, s. 1; 1997-390, ss. 1, 2;
    1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1998-202, s. 6; 1998-229, ss. 11, 28;
    1999-456, s. 60; 2000-183, s. 11; 2001-208, s. 6; 2001-291, s.
    3; 2001-487, s. 101; 2003-140, s. 3.)

    § 7B-1112. Effects of termination order.
    An order terminating the parental rights completely and
    permanently terminates all rights and obligations of the parent
    to the juvenile and of the juvenile to the parent arising from
    the parental relationship, except that the juvenile's right of
    inheritance from the juvenile's parent shall not terminate until
    a final order of adoption is issued. The parent is not
    thereafter entitled to notice of proceedings to adopt the
    juvenile and may not object thereto or otherwise participate
    (More to this one as well.)

    If they terminate your rights, you have 10 days to appeal it. It states that as well, underneath this. You can find it on the website I gave you to the NC State General Assembly and the direct link is.. [url]http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/statutes/generalstatutes/html/bychapter/chapter_7b.html[/url]

  4. #19
    Astral Guest
    Thank you so much for all the information and references. I'm gathering all the information I can from all the links you gave. I'm sure this will really help, especially to increase my own knowledge of the laws and such that are pertinent.

    Again, thank you. I really appreciate it. I honestly didn't expect to get this level of help and support.

    Just an update: my father finally got in contact with one of the attorney's secretaries, and she said that my attorney will get an extention of time for the answer.

    Also, my boyfriend's parents have a 2002 scooter that has been sitting in their shed that they say they will let me have, so I can try to sell it. They believe I should be able to get at least $1000 for it. From some of the info I've been reading (that you so kindly provided), I believe I should pay it all for the back child support that the order asked for.

    Someone suggested that I hire a private attorney (they had doubts about the court-appointed one) instead.

    Any thoughts on this? I don't know about the average local fee rate, but I would think that $1000 wouldn't be enough. My parents once hired an attorney for a civil case involving their house, and he asked for $2500 for the retainer, plus hourly fees. It wasn't a law suit or anything, and I don't know, maybe the pricing is different for different areas of law practice. Anyone know?

    Anyway, thank you again, you've been so very helpful.


    Last edited by Astral; 03-08-2004 at 02:42 AM.
  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    You'd be better off with a private atty, but they don't come cheap. A retainer for the sort of thing you're talking about would likely be in the $2000-2500 range. And then, depending on your area, you're looking at between $150 and $300 per hour. Absent that possibility, your best bet is to hold on to the court-appointed attorney, and educate yourself as much as possible so that you know what's going on.

    Good luck.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    I just wanted to say you're welcome and good luck. For some reason, when I read your post, it just really touched me. I really feel like you are trying really hard to do the right thing but just haven't known or understood how to go about doing it and made some mistakes along the way like all of us have but that you really do want to learn, understand and make things right. I feel like you are someone who really wants and needs help but are on the wrong track, trying to get on the right one. I don't know how to explain it.

    I hope we have helped you and that things work out.

    You would probably better off with a private attorney as stealth said but they don't come cheap. However, if a court appointed one is all you can get then go for it. Remember though, if you lose your case, you will still have to pay for the attorney. I don't see you losing though because you have not willfully failed to pay support for one year.

    Please give us an update when you can. I would love to know how things go and progress with your case. You can even email if you click on the little link to this post where it says profile.

    Good luck with everything. If there is anything else you need, we will try our best to help. Just try to educate and research everything the best you can.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Re: Termination of Parental Rights

    Originally posted by Astral
    What is the name of your state? North Carolina

    I posted this in the adoption forum, but I think I should have posted it here.

    A little background...
    My daughter is 6 years old. I gave birth to her at the age of 19. At the time she was born, I had done practically nothing with my life. When she was born, I determined to make something of myself. Her biological father never set eyes on her until she was 2 1/2, and even then it was from across a room. I survived by working full-time and getting government aid. When I applied to DSS for Work First, they told me that I had to try and get child support to qualify. I gave them the biological father's name, and they filed for child support. He (more like his parents) fought it, and requested a paternity test. It came back positive for him as the father, and he started paying child support. Now I wish I hadn't.

    A couple of years ago, my parents offered to take care of my daughter full time while I went back to school (community college). With their help, I and my boyfriend were able to go full time and still make enough working to pay the bills, etc. After a while, the father's parents offered to help on the weekends, when my parents needed a break (they are retired and starting to feel their age) by looking after my daughter. I saw no reason to object. Well, I certainly regret it now.

    **So you, your boyfriend and the child were living off your parents? As far as regret, the father of this child has the right to be in the childs life.

    Last April, they sued for custody of my daughter. Most of the things they used as reasons were b.s. (e.g. they said they believed I was of a Pagan religion -- as if that should have any bearing whatsoever regardless of whether it's true {for anyone who's curious, I actually consider myself an agnostic}). The things that did matter were unfortunately true. I did not have enough means, financially, to support her. I did not have a car (we do not have adequate public transportation here), and I was unmarried, but living with my boyfriend (Perhaps not legally relevant, but no doubt would still have influenced any rulings {for those curious, I am still with him, going on 5 years, and we are not married, nor planning on it}). They don't give court-appointed attorneys for cases like those, I did not have the money to even think of hiring an attorney, and the local sliding-fee/income-based program covers the entire western part of the state, and has very strict qualifications for giving their aid, and they wouldn't take my case.

    **It boils down to this. Do you want your child or is college more important? You can certainly get at least a part time job, or put college on hold and get a full time job. If you really want your child, you'll do it.

    I was advised by the D.A. that if I fought and lost, the plaintiffs would get permanent custody, where as, if I let them mediate it, they would get temporary custody, and I could bring it back to court at any time. Given these conditions, I had little choice but to let them get temporary custody. My parents requested secondary custody, and got it. They went into mediation, the biological father, his parents, and my parents, and worked it all out. I was not informed of the results except to be told that they had temporary custody, I was to be given visitation when my daughter was with my parents (just 4 days a month, awful), and I could bring it back to court at any time.

    **So your own parents, who were there, didn't tell you of the results, so you say. Then you say that you were given visitation so you obviously knew the results. ??? Why didn't you show up?

    I went on with school, and am now 1 class away from my Associate's Degree (not much, I admit, but it's an achievement for me). My boyfriend has 3 semesters to go before he graduates. In November, I was talking to my father, and found out that in the court order it states that both I and the bio. father were supposed to be paying child support to his parents. (I was not sent a copy of the order and had not seen it before then)

    **Did you think the child could support itself? Of course you and he are responsible for support!

    My father offered to help me out and sent a check in to the address listed in the order covering approx. 4 months.

    **So you still didn't pay, you left that up to your father?

    On Feb. 23rd, a sheriff gave a summons to my boyfriend (I was not at home at the time, and I would think that they are supposed to get proof that I received it?). The bio. father's parents are filing for a Termination of Parental Rights, in preparation for adoption. The grounds they give is "the Respondent Mother has willfully, without cause, failed to provide child support for said child for at least six consecutive months preceding the filing of this Petition".

    **Which is true. Your father provided support, but you did not.

    It states in the summons that I have the right to a court-appointed attorney for this case, and I need to answer within 30 days, or my rights get terminated automatically. We called state child support enforcement (where my dad sent the check), and it turns out that they don't have the case on file (that it was a private case. Why did the court order give that address then?). My dad's check was cashed by them, so he had no reason to believe it wasn't applied, and they never notified him.

    **Once again, your dad's check, not your check. You have indeed failed to provide support for the child.

    They said they would send an affidavit stating all this. I went to the clerk of court to fill out the forms to get an attorney. They gave me a business card, and told me that I needed to schedule a meeting myself. Every time I've called, I got voice mail. I don't have a phone, so I have given my parents' number for the callback. My father has also been calling. Yesterday, my father told me that he finally got someone, but they said the attorney wouldn't be in this week or next. The summons was filed Feb. 16th (even though I didn't get it until last week), and 30 days from that (I don't know, do they count all days, or just business days?) is the 17th.

    **Then you'd better figure out a way to either hire an attorney or file a response on your own.

    I don't know what to do. I'm sorry to write a book, but I've got no one else to tell, especially that might be able to understand all the aspects and consequences. Even if I am successful at avoiding having my parental rights terminated, I still do not yet have the means to properly provide for my daughter.

    **Then once again, it boils down to college or your child.

    How can I prevent this from happening in the future? I'm sure they'll keep trying. It kills me to leave her with them, but my parents are not able to handle a 6 year old at their age, and even if I could manage to provide the very bare essentials, my daughter deserves more than that (any child does).

    **So you don't want to properly take care of her and you don't want anyone else to properly take care of her either. You need to make a choice. Only you can make that choice, but one way or the other the child needs care, stability and love. You've put college before her needs, you either need to stop that and take care of her or continue college and let someone else permanently take care of her.

    If someone has any input at all, even if it's just an opinion, please give it. I would appreciate anything, even if it's a "sorry, you're S.O.L.".

    Thank you for reading my story (that's assuming you've gotten this far). At the very least, it feels good to spill it all, even if it's to the computer screen.


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