An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA05-201


Filed: 7 February 2006


    M.S.,                    Catawba County
                            No. 03 J 313
    Minor Child.                        

    Appeal by respondent-mother from orders entered 10 March 2004 and 25 June 2004 by Judge C. Thomas Edwards in Catawba County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 13 October 2005.

    Hall & Hall Attorneys at Law, PC, by Douglas L. Hall, for respondent-appellant.

    J. David Abernathy for petitioner-appellee Catawba County Department of Social Services.

    ELMORE, Judge.

    Respondent-mother (respondent) appeals from: an order adjudicating the juvenile neglected, entered on 10 March 2004; and an order denying respondent's motion to alter or amend the judgment of adjudication or for a new trial, entered on 25 June 2004. Since we find the events that occurred during the pendency of respondent's appeal render the issues therein moot, we dismiss the appeal.     
    Respondent filed notice of appeal to this Court on 1 July 2004. On 1 December 2004 respondent signed an adoption relinquishment of the juvenile. An adoption petition was filed on 24 March 2005, and the adoption decree was signed on 30 August 2005. Respondent's rights to legal and physical custody wereterminated upon the execution of the relinquishment. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-3-705(c) (2005). Respondent does not contend that her agreement to relinquish custody is void or unenforceable due to it being the product of fraud or duress. Further, a challenge to the relinquishment as being void must be made prior to the entry of the adoption decree. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-3-707(a)(1) (2005) (before entry of the adoption decree, the person who executed the relinquishment may allege and prove that it was obtained by fraud or duress).
    As respondent has voluntarily relinquished her parental rights to the juvenile, a determination by this Court in her favor on the adjudication of neglect cannot have any legal effect upon respondent's rights to the juvenile. As such, respondent's appeal challenging the district court's order adjudicating the juvenile neglected is now moot. See Roberts v. Madison County Realtors Assn., 344 N.C. 394, 398-99, 474 S.E.2d 783, 787 (1996) (“A case is 'moot' when a determination is sought on a matter which, when rendered, cannot have any practical effect on the existing controversy.”).
    Judges McCULLOUGH and LEVINSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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