In re K.N., 2021-NCSC-98

  • Facts: The juveniles were placed in nonsecure custody in 2017 and were adjudicated neglected in 2018. In 2018, the respondent parents moved to Michigan and remained there. In late 2018, DSS filed a TPR petition. A court hearing was held in 2019, where both parents were present. The TPR was granted and father appeals, challenging a lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the court did not make a finding that it has subject matter jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 (the UCCJEA) as required by G.S. 7B-1101. Father also appealed the grounds of neglect and failure to make reasonable progress, arguing the court did not consider post-petition evidence of his circumstances up to the date of the TPR. The opinion affirms the TPR identifying the evidence and findings that included post-petition evidence.
  • G.S. 7B-1101 addresses jurisdiction in a TPR case. The trial court is not required to make an explicit finding that is has jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, but the record must show that the jurisdictional requirements of the UCCJEA were met when the court exercised jurisdiction. The record showed that although parents moved to Michigan, the children’s home state is North Carolina as the children lived with their foster parents in NC for more than 6 consecutive months immediately before the TPR petition was filed.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
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