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1. Termination of Parental Rights--attempt to legitimize child after parental rights terminated
The trial court did not err by concluding that petitioner had no standing or right under the law to legitimate a minor child after petitioner's parental rights as to the child had been terminated several years prior, because: (1) petitioner's rights and responsibilities as a biological, putative, or any other category of father ceased upon the termination of his parental rights which completely and permanently terminated all rights and obligations of the parent to the juvenile, N.C.G.S. § 7B- 1112; and (2) petitioner's argument that the permanent termination of his parental rights could allow for modification and restoration is without merit.
2. Appeal and Error--preservation of issues--failure to cite authority
Although petitioner contends the Assistant Clerk of Court erred and abused her discretion in setting aside her prior legitimation order, this assignment of error is dismissed, because: (1) petitioner failed to cite any authority for this argument as required by N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(6) and merely reasserts Argument I; and (2) petitioner's first argument was found to be without merit and likewise this argument is without merit.
Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale, by Jonathan
McGirt, for petitioner-appellant.
Sally H. Scherer, for respondent-appellees.
An order terminating the parental rights completely and permanently terminates all rights and obligations of the parent to the juvenile . . .. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1112 (2004). Petitioner Stephen Gorsuch argues that, despite having had his parental rightsas to A.B.D. terminated, he nevertheless had standing to legitimate the minor child. Because a prior termination order completely and permanently terminates a parent's rights and responsibilities, we affirm the trial court's ruling that Petitioner had no standing to legitimate A.B.D.
Petitioner's parental rights were terminated as to A.B.D on 16 November 1999 under an order stating: The biological father, Stephen D. Gorsuch, has willfully abandoned the minor child . . . in that he has had only minimal contact with the minor child since her birth and he has withheld his love, his care, his affection and has neglected and refused to perform his natural and legal obligations of parental care and support of the minor child[;] and that [i]t is in the minor child's best interests that all parental rights of Stephen D. Gorsuch, the biological father of the minor child, A.B.D., be terminated.
Petitioner did not appeal from the order of termination. (See footnote 1) Instead, after his parental rights had been terminated, Petitioner brought an action for custody and support of the minor child. On 13 October 2000, Petitioner and Respondent (natural mother of A.B.D.) entered into a Consent Order For Custody And Child Support effectuating their agreements[.] In the consent order, theparties agreed that it is in the best interest of the minor child that she remain in the custody of [Respondent] but that [Petitioner] have regular visitation and play an active role in the child's life.
On 13 November 2002, Petitioner brought this action to legitimate A.B.D. The Assistant Clerk of Court entered a legitimation order on 5 February 2003, ordering that said child is legitimated and that North Carolina Vital Records amend birth certificate to reflect father's name . . .. However, on 18 December 2003, the Assistant Clerk of Court set aside the legitimation order, stating that the legitimation order was improvidently granted because of the lack of information regarding the termination of parental rights, and the order would not have been issued or granted had the undersigned known of the termination. Petitioner appealed to Superior Court, Wake County, which, on 26 April 2004 issued an order setting aside the legitimation order. The trial court found that [a]s a result of the termination, Petitioner has no standing or right to bring an action to legitimate A.B.D., and the Clerk correctly set aside the legitimation order which she had entered before knowing about the termination of Petitioner's parental rights.
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