• Medical Appointments, Consents, and Children in DSS Custody

    In North Carolina, a juvenile who is the subject of an abuse, neglect, or dependency petition may be placed in the custody of a Department of Social Services (DSS). When DSS has a court order of custody, it places a child outside of the child’s home, often in a licensed foster home or in the home of a relative or other placement provider. Here at the School of Government (SOG), we are often asked whether North Carolina law authorizes foster parents (or the child’s placement providers) to consent to health services for the children in DSS custody who are placed in providers’ homes. Spoiler: the answer is “no.” If foster parents or placement providers cannot consent to medical care for the children in their home, must the person whose consent is required (e.g., a DSS caseworker) attend and give consent at every appointment for every child who is in DSS custody? This blog post, co-authored by SOG faculty Kirsten Leloudis and Sara DePasquale, addresses these questions. Continue Reading

  • Statutory Rights to Appeal Orders in Delinquency Matters: What, When, Who, and Impact on Juvenile Court

    The right to appeal an order in a delinquency matter is established in G.S. 7B-2602 (Right to appeal) and G.S. 7B-2603 (Right to appeal transfer decision). These statutes do not identify every order that is entered in a delinquency action. Instead, there is a right to appeal after entry of specified final orders and any order transferring jurisdiction to superior court for trial as an adult. This post explains when there is a statutory right to appeal an order in a delinquency matter, who has the right to appeal, and restrictions on juvenile court jurisdiction while an appeal is pending. Continue Reading

  • An unmarried partner with joint legal and physical custody is not a parent and cannot be ordered to pay child support.

    The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently reminded us that custody rights do not make a person a parent. So, while a person may have court-ordered equal custody with the child’s biological parent, that fact alone does not mean that person can be ordered to pay child support. In Green v. Carter, decided by the court of appeals on March 19, 2024, the court held that “[b]ased on long-established North Carolina law, … [a person] cannot be required to pay child support unless she is the child’s mother or father or has agreed formally, in writing, to pay child support.” Dissent by Hampson.

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  • Less Restrictive Alternatives and Incompetency Restoration Proceedings

    In North Carolina, when an adult is adjudicated incompetent and guardianship is ordered, guardianship is permanent until the first of these two developments occur: (i) the ward’s competency is restored, or (ii) the ward dies. G.S. 35A-1295(a).

    The recently enacted Session Law 2023-124 amended the definition of incompetency and introduced requirements to ensure the consideration of less restrictive alternatives (LRAs) before a petition for incompetency can be granted. These statutory changes are born out of a recognition of the seriousness of declaring someone incompetent, and to encourage, where appropriate, the use of alternative arrangements that impose less restrictions than plenary guardianship. The changes are effective as to petitions filed on or after January 1, 2024.

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  • Today is GiveUNC – Help Us Help You

    For the past 7 years, the UNC School of Government has participated in GiveUNC, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s annual day of giving. And every year, we celebrate the number of clients, alumni, and friends of the School who chose to support us.

    If you’ve read our blogs, relied on our resources, attended our courses, heard us teach in outside programs, or sought consultation, we hope you will consider supporting the School of Government. Your gift not only provides vital resources that allow us to support the work you do, but also sends a clear message about the value of the School.

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  • As the Summary Ejectment Case Turns

    It all began when two people fell in love…well, maybe not love, but they at least liked each other enough to enter into a landlord-tenant relationship. Like so many relationships, they did not live happily ever after, only here the breakup plays out in a summary ejectment case. With G.S. Ch. 7A, Art. 19 and Ch. 42 as our guides, let’s explore the life of a summary ejectment case from the beginning to the middle to the end and discover what twists and turns lie ahead from the clerk’s office to small claims court to district court, and even possibly the court of appeals. For illustration purposes, we will follow a case between two former lovers who find themselves at odds over whether the ex-girlfriend is a tenant in the house owned by the ex-boyfriend. Our example is loosely based on the facts in Bradley v. Tapia, 277 N.C. App. 385 (2021) (unpublished). Prior to this case, no North Carolina case law addressed this type of shared occupancy between romantic partners. Let’s call our couple “Nikki” and “Victor” as we explore the days of their lives.

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  • Recordings by Government Officials

    **This post was written by my colleagues Kristina Wilson and Phil Dixon. You can reach Kristina at Wilson@sog.unc.edu and Phil at dixon@sog.unc.edu

    When and how can state and local government officials and employees record government meetings or their interactions with citizens? Does it matter if the recording is done openly or secretly? Recording may be tempting, particularly where there is a controversial matter at issue. The ability to record can be a useful tool, but there are several laws that government actors need to know if they want to use this tool legally and effectively. This post focuses on the issues surrounding government officials and employees recording oral communications outside of the law enforcement context. A later post will examine the issues surrounding video recording.

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  • Guardians: Don’t Forget to File a Notice of Change of Address with the Court

    Adult guardianship law in North Carolina underwent several significant changes effective January 1, 2024. My colleague, Timothy Heinle, and I previously blogged about two of these changes resulting from Session Law 2023-124, available here (notice of rights) and here (less restrictive alternatives). One change that may have slipped under your radar is found in G.S. 35A-1242(e) and imposes a new obligation on guardians to file a notice of change of address with the court.

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  • Congratulations to Newly Certified Magistrates

    Magistrates are often referred to as the “first face” of the judicial system for most citizens. They serve the public with professionalism, all while keeping abreast of the rapidly changing civil and criminal laws. In 2021, their training requirements were increased by the legislature from 12 hours every two years to 12 hours every year. As part of those 12 hours of training, magistrates are required to receive annual training on seven required subjects: (1) setting conditions of pretrial release, (2) impaired driving laws, (3) issuing criminal processes, (4) issuing search warrants, (5) technology, (6) orders of protection, and (7) summary ejectment laws. GS 7A-177.

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  • More Changes to the Year’s Allowance in Decedents’ Estates: The Procedure to Claim and Assign the Allowance

    *Update, March 1, 2024: The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts published revised year’s allowance forms in connection with the changes enacted by Session Law 2023-120.  They are AOC-E-100, Petition and Assignment Year’s Allowance and AOC-E-101, Deficiency Judgment.  Both the revised and previous version of the forms are available on the AOC’s website. The revised forms should be used for the estates of decedents dying on or after March 1, 2024.  The previous version of the forms should be used for the estates of decedents dying on or before February 29, 2024.

    This is the third and final post in a series that focuses on changes to the year’s allowance in decedents’ estates resulting from Session Law 2023-120. This post discusses the process to apply for the spousal and child’s allowance. The statutory changes are effective for decedents dying on or after March 1, 2024. You can access my two previous posts in this series here and here. Continue Reading

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