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Peters v. Peters

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

February 18, 2014

Jermaine S. [1] PETERS, Plaintiff/Husband/Father,
v.
Rasheedah PETERS, Defendant/Wife/Mother.

Heard in the Court of Appeals 11 December 2013.

Page 438

Appeal by Defendant from Order entered 8 April 2013 by Judge Ralph C. Gingles in Gaston County District Court.

Law Office of Yolanda M. Trotman, PLLC, Charlotte, by Yolanda M. Trotman, for Plaintiff.

The Blain Law Firm, PC, by Sabrina Blain, for Defendant.

STEPHENS, Judge.

Factual and Procedural History

This case arises from the separation on 19 April 2011 of Plaintiff Jermaine Peters and Defendant Rasheedah Peters. The couple was married on 28 September 2002. They have one minor child and reside in Gaston County. On 5 August 2012, acting pro se, Plaintiff submitted his divorce complaint

Page 439

in Mecklenburg County. Defendant submitted her answer two months later, on 8 October 2012, counterclaiming for child custody, child support, retroactive child support, equitable distribution, resumption of the use of her maiden name, and attorneys' fees. On 13 November 2012, venue was changed from Mecklenburg County to Gaston County pursuant to a consent order filed in Mecklenburg County District Court.[2] Despite that change, Plaintiff filed a reply to Defendant's answer with the assistance of counsel on 11 December 2012 in Mecklenburg County.[3] Defendant thereafter replied to Plaintiff's reply on 14 January 2013 in Gaston County.

The case was heard in Gaston County District Court during the 21 February 2013 civil session. During the hearing, Plaintiff made a motion to " dismiss/deny" Defendant's claim for retroactive child support on grounds that Defendant " failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted[ ] and failed to submit an [a]ffidavit of reasonable and necessary expenses as required by case law cited in the North Carolina Trial Judge's Bench Book." [4] Defendant argued that " such an [a]ffidavit is not required and that the child's expenses could be established through testimony." The district court issued an order on 8 April 2013, nunc pro tunc, to 21 February 2013, which denied Defendant's claim for retroactive child support. Defendant appeals from that order.

Discussion

On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying her claim because (1) her factual allegations regarding retroactive child support were adequate and (2) she was not required to file an affidavit to show the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by the parties' child. Plaintiff responds by arguing, inter alia, that Defendant's appeal is interlocutory and should be dismissed. We agree with Plaintiff and dismiss Defendant's appeal as interlocutory. Accordingly, we do not address the parties' other arguments.

" An interlocutory order is one made during the pendency of an action, which does not dispose of the case, but leaves it for further action by the trial court in order to settle and determine the entire controversy." Veazey v. City of Durham,231 N.C. 357, 362, 57 S.E.2d 377, 381 (1950) (citations omitted). In contrast, a final judgment " disposes of the cause as to all the parties, leaving nothing to be judicially determined between them in the trial court." Id. at 361-62, 57 S.E.2d at 381. " Generally there is no right of immediate appeal from interlocutory orders and judgments." Goldston v. Am. Motors Corp., 326 N.C. 723, 725, 392 S.E.2d 735, 736 (1990). " The reason for this rule is to prevent fragmentary, premature[,] and unnecessary appeals by permitting the trial court ...


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