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Crime and Parental Rights in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | May 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charges restricting a parent's access to his or her child is a life-changing event. When this occurs, anger and sadness are just a few emotions that can occur. Restrictions usually follow if a parent has committed some crime. There are, however, ways to protect yourself in cases where your rights to your children are threatened. If you have committed a crime and you are trying to keep your parental rights, here is what you need to know.

Parental Rights in North Carolina

Parental rights are generally protected by both federal and state laws. The North Carolina Supreme Court, in McIntyre v. McIntyre (1995) found that parents have a "paramount right ... to custody, care and nurture of their children." Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Troxel v. Granville (2000) that parents have a fundamental right to "make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children."

North Carolina's House attempted to codify parental rights in 2015. According to House Bill 847, a parent's fundamental rights would have included:

  • The care, education, and upbringing of a child.
  • The liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, and care of his or her child; and, care, control, and custody of a child.
  • The right to important health and medical decisions which may directly impact the child.

Though the Bill passed the House, it did not in the Senate. As a result, North Carolina does not currently have a defined parental rights statute in place to protect parental rights for either parent of a child.

Crime and Parental Rights

If you are a parent and you have committed a crime in the past, then parental rights can be rescinded. According to State Law 7B–1111, parental rights can be terminated if:

  • The parent has abused or neglected their child.
  • The child has been placed in the custody of a county department of social services and the parent has not paid for the care, education, or support of the child for six months.
  • The parent 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.

A sequence of steps must be followed to ensure that parental rights are legally terminated. These steps, along with their requirements, are below:

  1. Filing a petition or motion in support of termination of parental rights.
  2. Drafting a petition in accordance with State Law 7B–1104.
  3. Attending a pre-trial hearing.
  4. Attending adjudicatory hearing to determine the status of parental rights.
  5. The presiding judge issues a declaration announcing the end of the parental rights in question.

What to Do if You have Committed a Crime

If you have committed a crime and wish to retain your parental rights, it is important to have attorneys that will properly represent you. Parental rights are important, and so is protecting them if a parent is potentially innocent. To ensure that those rights are retained, experienced attorneys are needed. If you have committed a crime and you are trying to keep your parental rights, contact Caulder and Valentine for a consultation and for more information.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person that was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer.  So that's why I became an attorney.  I understand what you are going through—and I'm here to help you.  Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life. Before attending law school, I worked for a law firm focused on record clearing services, including expungements, pardons, and motions for appropriate relief.  The vast experience and understanding of North Carolina's expungement laws that I have acquired has given me an advantage in defending criminal charges, because not only do I fight for the best possible outcome in your case, but I am also continually conscious of the long term effects that a criminal charge or conviction can have on a person's life.  As such, I will do whatever I can to insure that my clients will not end up with a criminal record.  I was born in New London, Connecticut, but spent the first few years of my life in Dallas, Texas, before moving to Rutherfordton, North Carolina in 2001.  Upon graduating from high school, I attended Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where I majored in Accounting.  Eager to finish school, I began law school at Charlotte School of Law the day of my graduation from GWU, and completed my law degree in two years (instead of the typical three). During law school, I studied hard and strived to acquire the most experience possible so that I would be practice ready upon graduation.  The opportunities I gained included prosecuting criminal defendants through an externship with the Burke County District Attorney's Office, defending criminal defendants through Charlotte School of Law's Criminal Justice Clinic, and interning with Farmer & Morris, PLLC. I am blessed with a beautiful wife, Gabrielle Valentine, who is an attorney at Farmer & Morris, PLLC, in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  In my free time, I enjoy helping with the youth group in my church, playing basketball and softball in our local church leagues, serving in the prison ministry, and spending time with my family.  Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar


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