Appeal by Respondent-Mother from order entered 4 August 2006
by Judge L. Dale Graham in District Court, Iredell County. Heard
in the Court of Appeals 19 February 2007.
Lauren Vaughan for Petitioner-Appellee Iredell County
Department of Social Services.
Massey, Cannon & Griffin, P.L.L.C., by Jonathan D. Griffin,
for Respondent-Appellee Father.
Michael E. Casterline for Respondent-Appellant Mother.
Holly M. Groce, Attorney Advocate for Guardian ad Litem.
A.S-M. (Respondent-Mother) and R.S. (Respondent-Father) are
the biological parents of A.S. and S.S. (the children).
Respondent-Mother and Respondent-Father were married, but separated
on 1 December 2003. They entered into a consent order on 1 June2004 in a civil action, Iredell County District Court file 04 CVD
120, involving issues of child custody, child support and equitable
distribution. Pursuant to the consent order, the parents were
granted joint custody of the children, with Respondent-Mother
"exercising the primary care, custody and control" of the children.
The parents were subsequently divorced.
The Iredell County Department of Social Services (DSS) began
investigating whether the children were neglected after receiving
three child protective service reports on 25 April 2005.
Respondent-Mother allowed the children to live with Respondent-
Father beginning in May 2005. DSS filed juvenile petitions on 9
June 2005 alleging that the children were neglected juveniles. The
trial court appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and attorney
advocate to represent the children on 26 July 2005.
The trial court entered an amended adjudication order on 11
January 2006. The trial court found that Respondent-Mother began
dating B.M. (Respondent-Stepfather) and that he moved in with
Respondent-Mother and the children. Respondent-Mother and
Respondent-Stepfather were married on 10 May 2005. The trial court
also found that "on one occasion [Respondent-Stepfather] used a
belt or switch on [the] children resulting in excessive redness and
bruising when . . . Respondent Mother was not present[,] . . .
[and] this was a use of excessive force[.]" The trial court
further found that on another occasion, Respondent-Stepfather
"became angry with [S.S.] due to [S.S.] pouting and took [S.S.] to
the bedroom where [Respondent-Stepfather] punched [S.S.] in thearm." The trial court found that this action was inappropriate.
The trial court concluded "the . . . children [were] neglected
juveniles as defined by N.C.G.S. [§] 7B-101(15) in that they did
not receive proper supervision and discipline by [Respondent-
Stepfather] on at least two occasions." The trial court
adjudicated the children neglected juveniles.
The trial court entered a disposition order on 11 January 2006
granting legal custody of the children to DSS and continuing
physical custody of the children with Respondent-Father. The trial
court also established a schedule for visitation for Respondent-
Mother. However, the trial court ordered that Respondent-
Stepfather not be present during Respondent-Mother's visitation
with the children.
The trial court conducted a permanency planning hearing on 5
July 2006 and entered an order on 4 August 2006. The trial court
made numerous findings of fact and conclusions of law and awarded
Respondent-Father exclusive custody of the children, with scheduled
visitation for Respondent-Mother. The trial court relieved DSS and
the GAL of further involvement in the case and terminated juvenile
court jurisdiction over the matter. The trial court also ordered
that "[t]he order in this case is to be included in the 04 CVD 120
file as a regular civil order of this court, pursuant to [N.C. Gen.
Stat. §] 7B-911." Respondent-Mother appeals.
 Respondent-Mother argues the trial court erred by failing
to comply with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-911 when it terminated thejuvenile court's jurisdiction and ordered the juvenile order to be
included in the civil case file. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-911(c)
The court may enter a civil custody order
under this section and terminate the court's
jurisdiction in the juvenile proceeding only
(1) In the civil custody order the court
makes findings and conclusions that
support the entry of a custody order in
an action under Chapter 50 of the General
Statutes or, if the juvenile is already
the subject of a custody order entered
pursuant to Chapter 50, makes findings
and conclusions that support modification
of that order pursuant to G.S. 50-13.7;
(2) In a separate order terminating the
juvenile court's jurisdiction in the
juvenile proceeding, the court finds:
a. That there is not a need for
continued State intervention on
behalf of the juvenile through a
juvenile court proceeding; and
b. That at least six months have
passed since the court made a
determination that the juvenile's
placement with the person to whom
the court is awarding custody is the
permanent plan for the juvenile,
though this finding is not required
if the court is awarding custody to
a parent or to a person with whom
the child was living when the
juvenile petition was filed.
Respondent-Mother first argues the trial court erred by
failing to enter two separate and distinct orders, one terminating
juvenile court jurisdiction, and one to be made part of the civil
file. Respondent-Mother asserts that by requiring two distinct
orders, the General Assembly intended to avoid making confidentialjuvenile proceedings part of the public record. However, DSS
argues that the General Assembly simply intended to ensure that an
order sufficient to justify termination of the juvenile court's
jurisdiction be located in the juvenile file and an order
sufficient to support modification of custody be filed in the civil
We agree with the contention of DSS and therefore hold that
there is no requirement that the trial court enter two different
orders. The trial court may enter one order for placement in both
the juvenile file and the civil file as long as the order is
sufficient to support termination of juvenile court jurisdiction
and modification of custody.
 Respondent-Mother next argues the trial court erred by
failing to make findings of fact and conclusions of law to support
modification of custody. Respondent-Mother argues that the trial
court's finding incorporating a previous adjudication order was
insufficient to satisfy the trial court's obligations under
N.C.G.S. § 7B-911(c)(1). N.C.G.S. § 7B-911(c)(1) requires that "if
the juvenile is already the subject of a custody order entered
pursuant to Chapter 50, [the court must] make findings and
conclusions that support modification of that order pursuant to
G.S. 50-13.7." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.7 (2005) provides:
Subject to the provisions of G.S. 50A-201,
50A-202, and 50A-204, an order of a court of
this State for custody of a minor child may be
modified or vacated at any time, upon motion
in the cause and a showing of changed
circumstances by either party or anyone
interested. "It is well established in this jurisdiction that a trial
court may order a modification of an existing child custody order
between two natural parents if the party moving for modification
shows that a '"substantial change of circumstances affecting the
welfare of the child"' warrants a change in custody." Shipman v.
, 357 N.C. 471, 473, 586 S.E.2d 250, 253 (2003) (quoting
Pulliam v. Smith
, 348 N.C. 616, 619, 501 S.E.2d 898, 899 (1998)
(quoting Blackley v. Blackley
, 285 N.C. 358, 362, 204 S.E.2d 678,
681 (1974))). "While allegations concerning adversity are
'acceptable factor[s]' for the trial court to consider and will
support modification, 'a showing of a change in circumstances that
is, or is likely to be, beneficial to the child may also warrant a
change in custody.'" Id.
at 473-74, 586 S.E.2d at 253 (quoting
, 348 N.C. at 620, 501 S.E.2d at 900). Further, "if the
trial court does indeed determine that a substantial change in
circumstances affects the welfare of the child, it may only modify
the existing custody order if it further concludes that a change in
custody is in the child's best interests." Id.
at 474, 586 S.E.2d
In the present case, the trial court attempted to incorporate
the previous adjudication order by finding:
The actions of . . . Respondent Mother and
. . . Respondent Stepfather, as set out in the
adjudication order in this file 05 JA 104-105,
would constitute a substantial change in
circumstances so as to modify the order in the
civil action and place custody of [the]
children with . . . Respondent Father.
However, the trial court also made several findings which,independent of its finding incorporating the previous adjudication
order, support modification of custody of the children. The trial
1. [The] . . . children were adjudicated
neglected by order of this Court . . . on
December 12, 2005. The Court found that they
were neglected based on Respondent Stepfather
. . . administering inappropriate discipline
on two occasions[.]
2. At the disposition hearing following
adjudication, this Court placed the . . .
children with . . . Respondent Father and
ordered regular visitation between Respondent
Mother and the . . . children. The Court also
ordered the . . . children were not to be in
the presence of . . . Respondent Stepfather
. . . .
3. The . . . children have a lengthy history
of behavioral problems at school and at home.
Since living primarily with . . . Respondent
Father, these discipline problems at school
and at home have improved; however, there
continues to be occasional behavioral issues
from both the . . . children, especially from
the oldest . . . child.
. . .
6. The . . . children now attend counseling
. . . for behavioral problems as well as other
issues. The . . . children have benefitted
from this counseling. It is scheduled to
continue approximately one time per month.
Respondent Father has born the brunt of
expenses of such counseling.
We hold these findings of fact and the trial court's conclusion of
law that "[t]his order is in the best interest of [the] . . .
children" to be sufficient to support the modification of custody
of the children pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 50-13.7.
 Respondent-Mother also argues the trial court erred by
failing to find, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7B-911(c)(2)(a), that therewas no need for continued State intervention on behalf of the
children through a juvenile court proceeding. However, we hold
that the trial court complied with N.C.G.S. § 7B-911(c)(2)(a) by
making the following findings of fact:
2. . . . [R]egular visitation occurred, and at
first the visits were facilitated by [DSS],
but within a reasonable period of time, the
parties began communicating sufficiently to
arrange their visitation without [DSS's] help.
. . .
10. Respondent Mother and Respondent Father
have been able to communicate sufficiently to
coordinate visitations between the . . .
children and . . . Respondent Mother without
significant involvement from [DSS] since March
. . .
13. [DSS] wishes to be relieved of further
involvement in this case.
. . .
15. The parties both have suitable homes for
visitation and/or custody of [the] . . .
16. . . . Respondent Mother is capable of
properly supervising and disciplining the
. . . children and keeping them safe while in
her care and custody.
The trial court also determined in its conclusions of law that
"[DSS] and . . . GAL involvement is no longer necessary in this
matter." We hold that the trial court complied with N.C.G.S. § 7B-
911(c)(2)(a), and we overrule this assignment of error.
Respondent-Mother failed to set forth argument pertaining to
her remaining assignments of error, and we therefore deem them
N.C.R. App. P. 28(b)(6). Affirmed.
Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge WYNN concur.
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