In Hinton-Lynch v. Frierson, the N.C. Court of Appeals in a matter of first impression held that a mother who had left her child with her parents for four months could not prevail on her claim for kidnapping or interference with custody.
The mother who had legal custody of the child pursuant to a Georgia court order, left your child with her parents in North Carolina for four months. During that time she provided no support to the child other than providing the grandparents with the check card attached to the child support the father was paying monthly. The grandparents contacted the father of the child and he picked her up. A New Jersey court found that the mother had relinquished her custody rights by leaving the child with her parents.
N.C. no longer follows the common law that a illegitimate child is presumed to be better off with the mother. The law doesn’t presume that a child is better off with either parent.
The Court held that, “As a result of her actions, plaintiff [mother] lost her paramount custody status, and she did not have custody rights superior to defendant Horton’s at the time of the alleged abduction. Thus, as a matter of law, plaintiff could not prevail on her abduction of a minor (or interference with child custody) claim, and the trial court properly entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of defendants.”
The moral of this story is if you leave your children with friends or family for several months the court may view that as acting inconsistent with your legal custody rights and change could happen.