January 2018 | No. COA17-71 (N.C. Ct. App. 2018)

County of Durham v. Hodges (North Carolina 2017)

Evidence of a parent’s ability to pay must support a contempt order. The father in this case appealed a contempt order arguing that the evidence showed he had no ability to pay support. The contempt order was a pre-printed form that didn’t contain any findings of fact. The appellate court found the order lacked the evidence necessary to support a contempt finding. During the trial, the county of Durham didn’t provide any evidence that father could pay the support. Two doctors testified that father could not work for medical reasons. This case also contains a procedural issue regarding the proper order to appeal. Two days after entry of the form order, the court entered a more detailed order. However, the father filed the notice of appeal the day after entry of the form order. The appellate court found the form order met the requirements for a final order and that father properly perfected the appeal. The second order was void for a lack of jurisdiction.

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