In re M.J.M., 2021-NCSC-100

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: This is a private TPR. The petitioner resides in and filed the TPR in Robeson County. She is the legal guardian of one child pursuant to an underlying A/N/D action brought in Wake County, and a person with whom that juvenile and her sibling have continuously resided with for 2 years immediately preceding the filing of the TPR petition. After being served with the TPR petition, mother did not file an answer. Mother was represented by counsel and a continuance was granted upon mother’s request. The TPR was granted and mother appeals challenging subject matter jurisdiction in the TPR involving the juvenile for whom there was an underlying neglect action and the court’s failure to appoint a GAL for the juveniles.
  • Subject matter jurisdiction can be raised for the first time at any time, including on appeal, and is a conclusion of law that is reviewed de novo. Relying on In re A.L.L., 376 N.C. 99 (2020), subject matter jurisdiction in a TPR is conferred on the district court through the criteria of G.S. 7B-1101, which does not depend on the existence of an underlying A/N/D action or mandate the filing to be in a single court. When the requirements of G.S. 7B-1101 are met in one county, that county has jurisdiction even if an A/N/D action is pending in another county.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Topic:
G.S. 7B Jurisdiction
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