In the last two years, the North Carolina Supreme Court has published two opinions that answer questions raised about whether a North Carolina district court has personal and/or subject matter jurisdiction to terminate the parental rights of a parent who lives outside of North Carolina. Both opinions are cases of first impression. Both opinions held that the district court had personal jurisdiction over the respondent parent. One opinion held the district court also had subject matter jurisdiction in the TPR action. Both opinions affirmed the challenged TPR orders. Both opinions overturn previous court of appeals opinions on the issues raised. Here’s what you need to know. Continue Reading
Personal jurisdiction, as the name implies, refers to the authority of a court over a particular person. In order for a court to have authority over someone in a civil case, three things must exist: (1) effective service of process, (2) a statute allowing the exercise of personal jurisdiction in the case (G.S. 1-75.4, North Carolina’s long-arm statute, is the relevant statute in our state), and (3) compliance with the due process clause of the federal constitution. Continue Reading
****UPDATE TO THIS POST: The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals discussed below. See Mucha v. Wagner, N.C. (August 13, 2021).
I wrote about personal jurisdiction requirements in Chapter 50B civil domestic violence protection cases in these two earlier blog posts: Domestic Violence: DVPOs Require Personal Jurisdiction, September 9, 2016 and Domestic Violence: More on Mannise and Personal Jurisdiction, September 16, 2016.Continue Reading