In re T.R., 250 N.C. App. 386 (2016)

  • Timeline:
    • 2007: child born in Illinois; mom and dad reside there
    • 2011: divorce and custody ordered to mom in IL
    • 2012: child and mom move to FL; dad remains in IL
    • June 2014: child and mom move to NC; dad still in IL
    • July 2014: DSS files petition alleging neglect; nonsecure custody ordered; Dad still in IL
    • Sept. 2014: NC judge contacts IL judge; IL docket entry that NC is the proper forum and IL case will be transferred; NC order includes finding that based on conversation with IL judge, NC is proper forum and has jurisdiction
    • Jan. 2015: adjudication and disposition order entered
    • 2016: permanency planning order awards custody to father in IL; mother appeals based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA
  • North Carolina had subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA to hear the neglect proceeding. Jurisdiction is based on G.S. 50A-203, which authorizes NC to modify the previously entered custody order from IL (modification jurisdiction).
  • For modification jurisdiction, NC met  applicable criteria under GS 50A-203:
    • NC had jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination pursuant to GS 50A-201(a)(2) because the IL court determined NC was a more appropriate forum to hear the custody case. The IL docket entry satisfied the requirement of a court order. Illinois courts have recognized a docket entry as an order, and the docket entry itself contains the attributes of a court order including the conclusion that the case should be transferred to NC.
    • The respondent and child had a significant connection with NC as they had been living here, and
    • substantial evidence concerning the alleged child neglect (which occurred in NC) was available in NC.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Modification Jurisdiction
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