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Tag: modification
  • Child Custody and Support: Jurisdiction to Modify

    Unlike other civil judgments, custody and support orders can be modified when there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was entered. This rule is codified in North Carolina at GS 50-13.7 and every state in the country has a similar statute.

    While this authority is broad and straight forward, there are other statutory provisions that place significant limits on a court’s subject matter jurisdiction to modify a custody or support order – whether the order originally was entered in NC or in some other state or country. These statutory provisions were enacted for the purpose of discouraging parents from running from state to state in the hope of obtaining a more favorable court order.

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  • Hope Someone Remembered to File the Motion to Modify……..

    ***UPDATE TO POST MAY 2, 2016: On April 26, 2016, the NC Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of the Court of Appeals ruling in the case discussed in this post. See SC docket #152P16-1.

     

    On Tuesday this week, the court of appeals held that a consent order modifying an existing child support order was void because no motion to modify was filed before the consent modification was entered by the court. In Catawba County ex. rel. Rackley v. Loggins, (NC App, April 5, 2016), the court held that GS 50-13.7 clearly requires that a motion in the cause requesting modification be filed in order to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of the court to enter any further orders in the support case. Without the motion, the court has no subject matter jurisdiction to act.

    Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in North Carolina for orders to be entered modifying existing custody and support orders without anyone actually filing a motion to modify. This practice is especially common when all parties in the case agree to the modification. The court of appeals now has made it clear that this practice of ignoring required procedure results in invalid, unenforceable orders.

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  • Does a foreign custody order have to be registered before our court can enforce or modify it?

    I hear this question frequently. Despite much effort, I have yet to find a case or a statute indicating that a custody order from another state must be registered before it can be enforced or modified. Of course, an action must be initiated to invoke the jurisdiction of our courts; something that can be done with a complaint, service of process and the normal rules of civil procedure. It is clear from UIFSA, Chapter 52C, that support orders from other states must be registered before a North Carolina court can enforce or modify the support order and UIFSA provides a clear statutory procedure for registration. There is no similar statutory requirement for child custody orders.

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