Ex Parte: Mickey Ray Carter, Jr. and Nila Collean Carter, Movants, Of Whom Nila Collean Carter is Petitioner. In Re:John Roe and Mary Roe, Respondents, L. C. and X.C., minors under the age of seven years, Defendants. Appellate Case No. 2017-000806
January 31, 2018
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
from Charleston County Edgar H. Long, Jr., Family Court Judge
Mattison Bogan, of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP,
of Columbia, for Petitioner.
Anthony, of the Anthony Law Firm, PA, of Spartanburg; Emily
McDaniel Barrett and Thomas P. Lowndes, Jr., both of
Charleston, for Respondents.
adoption matter, Petitioner Nila Collean Carter sought to
revoke her consent to the adoption of her two biological
children. Throughout the resulting procedural morass,
Petitioner was never provided an opportunity to be heard on
the merits of her claim before the adoption was finalized. We
issued a writ of certiorari to review the court of
appeals' unpublished decision affirming the family
court's denial of Petitioner's motion to set aside
the final adoption decree pursuant to Rule 60(b), SCRCP.
Ex Parte Carter, Op. No. 2017-UP-043 (S.C. Ct. App.
filed Jan. 13, 2017). Because Petitioner's Rule 60(b)
motion was timely filed and sufficiently alleged extrinsic
fraud, we reverse and remand this matter to the family court
for further proceedings.
and her ex-husband Mickey Ray Carter, Jr. are the
biological parents (collectively "the Carters") of
two children-a daughter born in 2009 and a son born in 2011.
The Carters were married in May 2010, and by early 2014, the
couple was experiencing financial and marital stressors.
Given the difficult circumstances facing the Carters and the
unavailability of extended family support, the Carters began
discussing private adoption as an alternative that they
believed was preferable to the children being placed in
reached out to attorney Emily McDaniel Barrett, who arranged
the adoption on behalf of both couples. From the
beginning, Petitioner insisted on taking an active part in
the adoption process and explained that she wanted an open
adoption because that was "the only way this won't
destroy me. I need them to know how much I love them."
April 2014, the Carters each signed a consent to adoption of
their two children by Respondents John and Mary Roe
("Adoptive Couple"). Four days later, the adoption
action was filed. Notably, the documents signed by the
Carters included a provision waiving service and notice of
the adoption action.
days after the adoption action was filed, the Carters each
executed a notarized document titled "Withdrawal of
Parental Consent to Adoption" purporting to revoke
consent on the basis of emotional duress. Thereafter, the
Carters sought through many avenues to withdraw their
South Carolina Adoption Act provides that:
Withdrawal of any consent or relinquishment is not permitted
except by order of the court after notice and opportunity to
be heard is given to all persons concerned, and except when
the court finds that the withdrawal is in the best interests
of the child and that the consent or relinquishment was not
given voluntarily or was obtained under duress or through
coercion. Any person attempting to withdraw consent or
relinquishment shall file the reasons for withdrawal ...