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In re Adoption of S.D.W.

Supreme Court of North Carolina
758 S.E.2d 374 (2014)


Facts

Laura Welker and Gregory Johns (defendant) were engaged in an intimate relationship. Welker told Johns that she was using birth control, but Johns failed to make a detailed inquiry into the use and exact form of birth control. Johns impregnated Welker, but the couple had an abortion. Subsequently, around January 2010, the couple broke up but continued to have sex until March 2010. Welker gave birth to S.D.W. in October 2010. Johns was the biological father. Welker listed no father on the birth certificate and incorrectly named “Gregory James” as the child’s father on a parentage affidavit. Welker relinquished custody of S.D.W., and an adoption agency failed to find the biological father due to Welker’s incorrect recording of Johns’s name. Benjamin and Heather Jones (plaintiffs) filed a petition for adoption. In November 2010, Welker and Johns had sex again. Welker did not mention the birth of S.D.W. to Johns. Indeed, Johns at that point did not know that Welker had been pregnant with S.D.W. In April 2011, Johns heard that Welker had given birth to a child. Johns called Welker, and Welker, for the first time, informed Johns of S.D.W.’s birth. Johns then sought custody of S.D.W. The trial court found that Johns’s consent was not required to move forward with the Joneses’ adoption of S.D.W. The court of appeals reversed. The Joneses appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Edmunds, J.)

Dissent (Jackson, J.)

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