In re M.C., 244 N.C. App. 410 (2015)


  • Subject matter jurisdiction for a termination of parental rights (TPR) requires compliance with both G.S. 7B-1101 and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) found in G.S. Chapter 50A.
  • G.S. 7B-1101 requires that the child resides in, is found in, or is in the legal or actual custody of a county department or licensed child-placing agency in the judicial district at the time the TPR petition or motion is filed. If a child does not fall under one of these criteria, the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction under G.S. 7B-1101. In this case, the petitioner had custody of the two children who are the subject of this action. The children have resided with their mother/the petitioner in Washington state since 2007, and the children were not found in North Carolina when the petition was filed. The district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the TPR action.
  • Although the respondent appealed the orders based on the UCCJEA, the court may sua sponte review the issue of subject matter jurisdiction de novo at any time. The UCCJEA addresses a state’s jurisdiction to enter child custody orders; it does not address venue within the state.


Termination of Parental Rights
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
G.S. 7B Jurisdiction
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