A couple have an affair. The man leaves for Iraq. While he’s gone the woman has his child. For whatever reasons she doesn’t tell him. She gives the child to her parents to raise. Four years later the man returns from Iraq and learns he has a child. He immediately quit his job and moved closer to his child. He started paying child support. He visited as often as allowed. The grandparents filed for custody of the child. What happens? Does the father get custody of the child or the grandparents?
In Jones v. Russell, the N.C. Court of Appeals held that the father had not acted inconsistently with his rights as a parent. This is important because the constitution provides parents with superior rights to their children. If a parent acts inconsistent with those rights by abandoning the child, abusing the child, or neglecting the child they may lose the superior standard. The court considers several factors and the determination is made on a case-by-case basis. In this case the Court held that the father had not acted inconsistently and therefore the court did not have to consider the best interest of the child standard which you sometimes hear about in custody cases. The father of the child was awarded custody and the grandparents were awarded visitation.
- What Are Dependents? (turbotax.intuit.com)
- When a child is being kept by the grandparent is the grandparent’s income used when calculating the father’s child support payments (wiki.answers.com)