In re S.E., 373 N.C. 360 (2020)

  • Facts: Four children were adjudicated abused, neglected, and dependent based on physical abuse, sexual abuse of one child, and domestic violence in the home. A permanency planning order identified adoption as the primary permanent plan for each of the children. DSS filed a petition to terminate respondent mother’s parental rights, which was granted on multiple grounds, including willfully failing to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of care for the children while they were placed in DSS custody. Respondent mother appealed.
  • UCCJEA: Respondent mother argues the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over one of the children (Sara) because the initial A/N/D petition stated that the children had been placed out of the home by child protective services in Oklahoma, putting the NC district court on notice that there was a prior custody determination made in another state. “Where the trial court has acted in a matter, every presumption not inconsistent with the record will be indulged in favor of jurisdiction . . . . [and] the burden is on the party asserting want of jurisdiction to show such want.” Sl. Op. at 6-7 (citations omitted). Respondent mother did not meet her burden when relying on allegations and inferences and failing to mention that the district court found as fact a child other than Sara was removed from mother’s custody in Oklahoma. Additionally, mother stipulated to the district court that the child protective matter in Oklahoma was closed, as was her duty under G.S. 50A-209(a). Given the record, it was reasonable for the district court to infer that Oklahoma did not have continuing jurisdiction. NC had initial custody determination jurisdiction based on NC being Sara’s home state.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Home State
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