N.C.G.S. 50-13.2(A) Example Case

In Price v. Howard, 346 N.C. 68, 484 S.E.2d 528 (1997), the biological mother represented to her child and others, including the plaintiff, that he was the child's father even though he was not. 346 N.C. at 83, 484 S.E.2d at 537. According to the Supreme Court, "she chose to rear the child in a family unit with the plaintiff being the child's de facto father." Id. She thus "created" a "family unit" that included a third person and the child. Id. The the Supreme Court of North Carolina revisited legal parents' constitutional rights in Price. The Court noted that "it was unnecessary in Petersen to articulate anything more than general constitutional principles." Price, 346 N.C. at 73, 484 S.E.2d at 531. The Court explained that: "In Petersen, this Court held that natural parents have a constitutionally protected interest in the companionship, custody, care, and control of their children" and that "this interest must prevail in a custody dispute with a nonparent, absent a showing of unfitness or neglect." Id. at 72, 484 S.E.2d at 530. Price, however, addressed "whether other circumstances can require that interest to yield to the 'best interest of the child' test prescribed by N.C.G.S. 50-13.2(a)." Id.