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Child Custody Statutes

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Child custody statutes. Click one to see an in depth description.


§ 50-11.1. Children born of voidable marriage legitimate.

§ 50-11.2. Judgment provisions pertaining to care, custody, tuition and maintenance of minor children.

§ 50‑13.1. Action or proceeding for custody of minor child.

§ 50-13.2. Who entitled to custody; terms of custody; visitation rights of grandparents; taking child out of State

§ 50-13.2A. Action for visitation of an adopted grandchild

§ 50-13.3. Enforcement of order for custody

§ 50-13.5. Procedure in actions for custody or support of minor children

§ 50-13.7. Modification of order for child support or custody

§ 50-13.8. Custody of persons incapable of self-support upon reaching majority

§ 50-13.12. Forfeiture of licensing privileges for failure to pay child support or for failure to comply with subpoena issued pursuant to child support or paternity establishment proceedings

§ 50A-101. Short title

§ 50A-102. Definitions

§ 50A-103. Proceedings governed by other law.

§ 50A-104. Application to Indian tribes

§ 50A-105. International application of Article

§ 50A-106. Effect of child-custody determination

§ 50A-107. Priority

§ 50A-108. Notice to persons outside State

§ 50A-109. Appearance and limited immunity

§ 50A-110. Communication between courts

§ 50A-111. Taking testimony in another state

§ 50A-112. Cooperation between courts; preservation of records

§ 50A-201. Initial child-custody jurisdiction

§ 50A-202. Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction

§ 50A-203. Jurisdiction to modify determination

§ 50A-204. Temporary emergency jurisdiction

§ 50A-205. Notice; opportunity to be heard; joinder

§ 50A-206. Simultaneous proceedings

§ 50A-207. Inconvenient forum

§ 50A-208. Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct

§ 50A-209. Information to be submitted to court

§ 50A-210. Appearance of parties and child

§ 50A-301. Definitions

§ 50A-302. Enforcement under Hague Convention

§ 50A-303. Duty to enforce

§ 50A-304. Temporary visitation

§ 50A-305. Registration of child-custody determination

§ 50A-306. Enforcement of registered determination

§ 50A-307. Simultaneous proceedings

§ 50A-308. Expedited enforcement of child-custody determination

§ 50A-309. Service of petition and order

§ 50A-310. Hearing and order

§ 50A-311. Warrant to take physical custody of child

§ 50A-312. Costs, fees, and expenses

§ 50A-313. Recognition and enforcement

§ 50A-314. Appeals

§ 50A-315. Role of prosecutor or public official

§ 50A-316. Role of law enforcement

§ 50A-317. Costs and expenses

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§ 50-11.1. Children born of voidable marriage legitimate.
A child born of voidable marriage or a bigamous marriage is legitimate notwithstanding the annulment of the marriage.

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§ 50-11.2. Judgment provisions pertaining to care, custody, tuition and maintenance of minor children.
Where the court has the requisite jurisdiction and upon proper pleadings and proper and due notice to all interested parties the judgment in a divorce action may contain such provisions respecting care, custody, tuition and maintenance of the minor children of the marriage as the court may adjudge; and from time to time such provisions may be modified upon due notice and hearing and a showing of a substantial change in condition; and if there be no minor children, the judgment may so state. The jurisdictional requirements of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-203, or 50A-204 shall apply in regard to a custody decree.

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§ 50‑13.1. Action or proceeding for custody of minor child.
(a) Any parent, relative, or other person, agency, organization or institution claiming the right to custody of a minor child may institute an action or proceeding for the custody of such child, as hereinafter provided. Any person whose actions resulted in a conviction under G.S. 14‑27.2 or G.S. 14‑27.3 and the conception of the minor child may not claim the right to custody of that minor child. Unless a contrary intent is clear, the word “custody” shall be deemed to include custody or visitation or both.

(b) Whenever it appears to the court, from the pleadings or otherwise, that an action involves a contested issue as to the custody or visitation of a minor child, the matter, where there is a program established pursuant to G.S. 7A‑494, shall be set for mediation of the unresolved issues as to custody and visitation before or concurrent with the setting of the matter for hearing unless the court waives mediation pursuant to subsection (c). Issues that arise in motions for contempt or for modifications as well as in other pleadings shall be set for mediation unless mediation is waived by the court. Alimony, child support, and other economic issues may not be referred for mediation pursuant to this section. The purposes of mediation under this section include the pursuit of the following goals:

(1) To reduce any acrimony that exists between the parties to a dispute involving custody or visitation of a minor child;

(2) The development of custody and visitation agreements that are in the child’s best interest;

(3) To provide the parties with informed choices and, where possible, to give the parties the responsibility for making decisions about child custody and visitation;

(4) To provide a structured, confidential, nonadversarial setting that will facilitate the cooperative resolution of custody and visitation disputes and minimize the stress and anxiety to which the parties, and especially the child, are subjected; and

(5) To reduce the relitigation of custody and visitation disputes.

(c) For good cause, on the motion of either party or on the court’s own motion, the court may waive the mandatory setting under Article 39A of Chapter 7A of the General Statutes of a contested custody or visitation matter for mediation. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, the following: a showing of undue hardship to a party; an agreement between the parties for voluntary mediation, subject to court approval; allegations of abuse or neglect of the minor child; allegations of alcoholism, drug abuse, or domestic violence between the parents in common; or allegations of severe psychological, psychiatric, or emotional problems. A showing by either party that the party resides more than fifty miles from the court shall be considered good cause.

(d) Either party may move to have the mediation proceedings dismissed and the action heard in court due to the mediator’s bias, undue familiarity with a party, or other prejudicial ground.

(e) Mediation proceeding shall be held in private and shall be confidential. Except as provided in this Article, all verbal or written communications from either or both parties to the mediator or between the parties in the presence of the mediator made in a proceeding pursuant to this section are absolutely privileged and inadmissible in court. The mediator may assess the needs and interests of the child, and may interview the child or others who are not parties to the proceedings when he or she thinks appropriate.

(f) Neither the mediator nor any party or other person involved in mediation sessions under this section shall be competent to testify to communications made during or in furtherance of such mediation sessions; provided, there is no privilege as to communications made in furtherance of a crime or fraud. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as permitting an individual to obtain immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct or as excusing an individual from the reporting requirements of Article 3 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes or G.S. 108A‑102.

(g) Any agreement reached by the parties as a result of the mediation shall be reduced to writing, signed by each party, and submitted to the court as soon as practicable. Unless the court finds good reason not to, it shall incorporate the agreement in a court order and it shall become enforceable as a court order. If some or all of the issues as to custody or visitation are not resolved by mediation, the mediator shall report that fact to the court.

(h) If an agreement that results from mediation and is incorporated into a court order is referred to as a “parenting agreement” or called by some similar name, it shall nevertheless be deemed to be a custody order or child custody determination for purposes of Chapter 50A of the General Statutes, G.S. 14‑320.1, G.S. 110‑139.1, or other places where those terms appear.

(i) If the child whose custody is the subject of an action under this Chapter also is the subject of a juvenile abuse, neglect, or dependency proceeding pursuant to Subchapter 1 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes, then the custody action under this Chapter is stayed as provided in G.S. 7B‑200. (1967, c. 1153, s. 2; 1989, c. 795, s. 15(b); 1998‑202, s. 13(p); 2004‑128, s. 10; 2005‑320, s. 5; 2005‑423, s. 4.)

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§ 50-13.2. Who entitled to custody; terms of custody; visitation rights of grandparents; taking child out of State
(a) An order for custody of a minor child entered pursuant to this section shall award the custody of such child to such person, agency, organization or institution as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. In making the determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors including acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party and shall make findings accordingly. An order for custody must include findings of fact which support the determination of what is in the best interest of the child. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. Joint custody to the parents shall be considered upon the request of either parent.

(b) An order for custody of a minor child may grant joint custody to the parents, exclusive custody to one person, agency, organization, or institution, or grant custody to two or more persons, agencies, organizations, or institutions. Any order for custody shall include such terms, including visitation, as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. If the court finds that domestic violence has occurred, the court shall enter such orders that best protect the children and party who were the victims of domestic violence. Such orders may include a designation of time and place for the exchange of children away from the abused party, the participation of a third party, or supervised visitation. If a party is absent or relocates with or without the children because of an act of domestic violence, the absence or relocation shall not be a factor that weighs against the party in determining custody or visitation. Absent an order of the court to the contrary, each parent shall have equal access to the records of the minor child involving the health, education, and welfare of the child.

(b1) An order for custody of a minor child may provide visitation rights for any grandparent of the child as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. As used in this subsection, “grandparent” includes a biological grandparent of a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child. Under no circumstances shall a biological grandparent of a child adopted by adoptive parents, neither of whom is related to the child and where parental rights of both biological parents have been terminated, be entitled to visitation rights.

(c) An order for custody of a minor child may provide for such child to be taken outside of the State, but if the order contemplates the return of the child to this State, the judge may require the person, agency, organization or institution having custody out of this State to give bond or other security conditioned upon the return of the child to this State in accordance with the order of the court.

(d) If, within a reasonable time, one parent fails to consent to adoption pursuant to Chapter 48 of the General Statutes or parental rights have not been terminated, the consent of the other consenting parent shall not be effective in an action for custody of the child.

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§ 50-13.2A. Action for visitation of an adopted grandchild
A biological grandparent may institute an action or proceeding for visitation rights with a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child. Under no circumstances shall a biological grandparent of a child adopted by adoptive parents, neither of whom is related to the child and where parental rights of both biological parents have been terminated, be entitled to visitation rights. A court may award visitation rights if it determines that visitation is in the best interest of the child. An order awarding visitation rights shall contain findings of fact which support the determination by the judge of the best interest of the child. Procedure, venue, and jurisdiction shall be as in an action for custody.

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§ 50-13.3. Enforcement of order for custody
(a) An order providing for the custody of a minor child is enforceable by proceedings for civil contempt, and its disobedience may be punished by proceedings for criminal contempt, as provided in Chapter 5A, Contempt, of the General Statutes.

Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 1-294, an order pertaining to child custody which has been appealed to the appellate division is enforceable in the trial court by proceedings for civil contempt during the pendency of the appeal. Upon motion of an aggrieved party, the court of the appellate division in which the appeal is pending may stay any order for civil contempt entered for child custody until the appeal is decided, if justice requires.

(b) Any court of this State having jurisdiction to make an award of custody of a minor child in an action or proceeding therefor, shall have the power of injunction in such action or proceeding as provided in Article 37 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes and G.S. 1A-1, Rule 65.

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§ 50-13.5. Procedure in actions for custody or support of minor children
(a) Procedure. – The procedure in actions for custody and support of minor children shall be as in civil actions,except as provided in this section and in G.S. 50-19. In this G.S. 50-13.5 the words “custody and support” shall be deemed to include custody or support, or both.

(b) Type of Action. – An action brought under the provisions of this section may be maintained as follows:

(1) As a civil action.

(2) Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 110, s. 12.

(3) Joined with an action for annulment, or an action for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or an action for alimony without divorce.

(4) As a cross action in an action for annulment, or an action for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or an action for alimony without divorce.

(5) By motion in the cause in an action for annulment, or an action for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or an action for alimony without divorce.

(6) Upon the court’s own motion in an action for annulment, or an action for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or an action for alimony without divorce.

(7) In any of the foregoing the judge may issue an order requiring that the body of the minor child be brought before him.

(c) Jurisdiction in Actions or Proceedings for Child Support and Child Custody.

(1) The jurisdiction of the courts of this State to enter orders providing for the support of a minor child shall be as in actions or proceedings for the payment of money or the transfer of property.

(2) The courts of this State shall have jurisdiction to enter orders providing for the custody of a minor child under the provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-202, and 50A-204.

(3) to (6) Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 110, s. 12.

(d) Service of Process; Notice; Interlocutory Orders.

(1) Service of process in civil actions for the custody of minor children shall be as in other civil actions. Motions for support of a minor child in a pending action may be made on 10 days notice to the other parties and compliance with G.S. 50-13.5(e). Motions for custody of a minor child in a pending action may be made on 10 days notice to the other parties and after compliance with G.S. 50A-205.

(2) If the circumstances of the case render it appropriate, upon gaining jurisdiction of the minor child the court may enter orders for the temporary custody and support of the child, pending the service of process or notice as herein provided.

(3) A temporary order for custody which changes the living arrangements of a child or changes custody shall not be entered ex parte and prior to service of process or notice, unless the court finds that the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse or that there is a substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts.

(e) Notice to Additional Persons in Support Actions and Proceedings; Intervention.

(1) The parents of the minor child whose addresses are reasonably ascertainable; any person, agency, organization or institution having actual care, control, or custody of a minor child; and any person, agency, organization or institution required by court order to provide for the support of a minor child, either in whole or in part, not named as parties and served with process in an action or proceeding for the support of such child, shall be given notice by the party raising the issue of support.

(2) The notice herein required shall be in the manner provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure for the service of notices in actions. Such notice shall advise the person to be notified of the name of the child, the names of the parties to the action or proceeding, the court in which the action or proceeding was instituted, and the date thereof.

(3) In the discretion of the court, failure of such service of notice shall not affect the validity of any order or judgment entered in such action or proceeding.

(4) Any person required to be given notice as herein provided may intervene in an action or proceeding for support of a minor child by filing in apt time notice of appearance or other appropriate pleadings.

(f) Venue. – An action or proceeding in the courts of this State for custody and support of a minor child may be maintained in the county where the child resides or is physically present or in a county where a parent resides, except as hereinafter provided. If an action for annulment, for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or for alimony without divorce has been previously instituted in this State, until there has been a final judgment in such case, any action or proceeding for custody and support of the minor children of the marriage shall be joined with such action or be by motion in the cause in such action. If an action or proceeding for the custody and support of a minor child has been instituted and an action for annulment or for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or for alimony without divorce is subsequently instituted in the same or another county, the court having jurisdiction of the prior action or proceeding may, in its discretion direct that the action or proceeding for custody and support of a minor child be consolidated with such subsequent action, and in the event consolidation is ordered, shall determine in which court such consolidated action or proceeding shall be heard.

(g) Custody and Support Irrespective of Parents’ Rights Inter Partes. – Orders for custody and support of minor children may be entered when the matter is before the court as provided by this section, irrespective of the rights of the wife and the husband as between themselves in an action for annulment or an action for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, or an action for alimony without divorce.

(h) Court Having Jurisdiction. – When a district court having jurisdiction of the matter shall have been established, actions or proceedings for custody and support of minor children shall be heard without a jury by the judge of such district court, and may be heard at any time.

(i) District Court; Denial of Parental Visitation Right; Written Finding of Fact. – In any case in which an award of child custody is made in a district court, the trial judge, prior to denying a parent the right of reasonable visitation, shall make a written finding of fact that the parent being denied visitation rights is an unfit person to visit the child or that such visitation rights are not in the best interest of the child.

(j) Custody and Visitation Rights of Grandparents. – In any action in which the custody of a minor child has been determined, upon a motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances pursuant to G.S. 50-13.7, the grandparents of the child are entitled to such custody or visitation rights as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. As used in this subsection, “grandparent” includes a biological grandparent of a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child. Under no circumstances shall a biological grandparent of a child adopted by adoptive parents, neither of whom is related to the child and where parental rights of both biological parents have been terminated, be entitled to visitation rights.

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§ 50-13.7. Modification of order for child support or custody
(a) An order of a court of this State for support of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested subject to the limitations of G.S. 50-13.10. Subject to the provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-202, and 50A-204, an order of a court of this State for custody of a minor child may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested.

(b) When an order for support of a minor child has been entered by a court of another state, a court of this State may, upon gaining jurisdiction, and upon a showing of changed circumstances, enter a new order for support which modifies or supersedes such order for support, subject to the limitations of G.S. 50-13.10. Subject to the provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-202, and 50A-204, when an order for custody of a minor child has been entered by a court of another state, a court of this State may, upon gaining jurisdiction, and a showing of changed circumstances, enter a new order for custody which modifies or supersedes such order for custody.

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§ 50-13.8. Custody of persons incapable of self-support upon reaching majority
For the purposes of custody, the rights of a person who is mentally or physically incapable of self-support upon reaching his majority shall be the same as a minor child for so long as he remains mentally or physically incapable of self-support.

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§ 50-13.12. Forfeiture of licensing privileges for failure to pay child support or for failure to comply with subpoena issued pursuant to child support or paternity establishment proceedings
(a) As used in this section, the term:

(1) “Licensing board” means a department, division, agency, officer, board, or other unit of state government that issues hunting, fishing, trapping, drivers, or occupational licenses or licensing privileges.

(2) “Licensing privilege” means the privilege of an individual to be authorized to engage in an activity as evidenced by hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses, regular and commercial drivers licenses, and occupational, professional, and business licenses.

(3) “Obligee” means the individual or agency to whom a duty of support is owed or the individual’s legal representative.

(4) “Obligor” means the individual who owes a duty to make child support payments under a court order.

(5) “Occupational license” means a license, certificate, permit, registration, or any other authorization issued by a licensing board that allows an obligor to engage in an occupation or profession.

(b) Upon a finding by the district court judge that the obligor is willfully delinquent in child support payments equal to at least one month’s child support, or upon a finding that a person has willfully failed to comply with a subpoena issued pursuant to a child support or paternity establishment proceeding, and upon findings as to any specific licensing privileges held by the obligor or held by the person subject to the subpoena, the court may revoke some or all of such privileges until the obligor shall have paid the delinquent amount in full, or, as applicable, until the person subject to the subpoena has complied with the subpoena. The court may stay any such revocation pertaining to the obligor upon conditions requiring the obligor to make full payment of the delinquency over time. Any such stay shall further be conditioned upon the obligor’s maintenance of current child support. The court may stay the revocation pertaining to the person subject to the subpoena upon a finding that the person has complied with or is no longer subject to the subpoena. Upon an order revoking such privileges of an obligor that does not stay the revocation, the clerk of superior court shall notify the appropriate licensing board that the obligor is delinquent in child support payments and that the obligor’s licensing privileges are revoked until such time as the licensing board receives proof of certification by the clerk that the obligor is no longer delinquent in child support payments. Upon an order revoking such privileges of a person subject to the subpoena that does not stay the revocation, the clerk of superior court shall notify the appropriate licensing board that the person has failed to comply with the subpoena issued pursuant to a child support or paternity establishment proceeding and that the person’s licensing privileges are revoked until such time as the licensing board receives proof of certification by the clerk that the person is in compliance with or no longer subject to the subpoena.

(c) An obligor may file a request with the clerk of superior court for certification that the obligor is no longer delinquent in child support payments upon submission of proof satisfactory to the clerk that the obligor has paid the delinquent amount in full. A person whose licensing privileges have been revoked under subsection (b) of this section because of a willful failure to comply with a subpoena may file a request with the clerk of superior court for certification that the person has met the requirements of or is no longer subject to the subpoena. The clerk shall provide a form to be used for a request for certification. If the clerk finds that the obligor has met the requirements for reinstatement under this subsection, then the clerk shall certify that the obligor is no longer delinquent and shall provide a copy of the certification to the obligor. Upon request of the obligor, the clerk shall mail a copy of the certification to the appropriate licensing board. If the clerk finds that the person whose licensing privileges have been revoked under subsection (b) of this section for failure to comply with a subpoena has complied with or is no longer subject to the subpoena, then the clerk shall certify that the person has met the requirements of or is no longer subject to the subpoena and shall provide a copy of the certification to the person. Upon request of the person, the clerk shall mail a copy of the certification to the appropriate licensing board.

(d) If licensing privileges are revoked under this section, the obligor may petition the district court for a reinstatement of such privileges. The court may order the privileges reinstated conditioned upon full payment of the delinquency over time. Any order allowing license reinstatement shall additionally require the obligor’s maintenance of current child support. If the licensing privileges of a person other than the obligor are revoked under this section for failure to comply with a subpoena, the person may petition the district court for reinstatement of the privileges. The court may order the privileges reinstated if the person has complied with or is no longer subject to the subpoena that was the basis for revocation. Upon reinstatement under this subsection, the clerk of superior court shall certify that the obligor is no longer delinquent and provide a copy of the certification to the obligor. Upon request of the obligor, the clerk shall mail a copy of the certification to the appropriate licensing board. Upon reinstatement of the person whose licensing privileges were revoked based on failure to comply with a subpoena, the clerk of superior court shall certify that the person has complied with or is no longer subject to the subpoena. Upon request of the person whose licensing privileges are reinstated, the clerk shall mail a copy of the certification to the appropriate licensing board.

(e) An obligor or other person whose licensing privileges are reinstated under this section may provide a copy of the certification set forth in either subsection (c) or (d) to each licensing agency to which the obligor or other person applies for reinstatement of licensing privileges. Upon request of the obligor or other person, the clerk shall mail a copy of the certification to the appropriate licensing board. Upon receipt of a copy of the certification, the licensing board shall reinstate the license.

(f) Upon receipt of notification by the clerk that an obligor’s or other person’s licensing privileges are revoked pursuant to this section, the board shall note the revocation on its records and take all necessary steps to implement and enforce the revocation. These steps shall not include the board’s independent revocation process pursuant to Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, the Administrative Procedure Act, which process is replaced by the court process prescribed by this section. The revocation pertaining to an obligor shall remain in full force and effect until the board receives certification under this section that the obligor is no longer delinquent in child support payments. The revocation pertaining to the person whose licensing privileges were revoked on the basis of failure to comply with a subpoena shall remain in full force and effect until the board receives certification of reinstatement under subsection (d) of this section.

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§ 50A-101. Short title
This Article may be cited as the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

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§ 50A-102. Definitions
In this Article:
(1) “Abandoned” means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.
(2) “Child” means an individual who has not attained 18 years of age.

(3) “Child-custody determination” means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual.

(4) “Child-custody proceeding” means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under Part 3 of this Article.

(5) “Commencement” means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.

(6) “Court” means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce, or modify a child-custody determination.

(7) “Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child-custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.

(8) “Initial determination” means the first child-custody determination concerning a particular child.

(9) “Issuing court” means the court that makes a child-custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this Article.

(10) “Issuing state” means the state in which a child-custody determination is made.

(11) “Modification” means a child-custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination.

(12) “Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or any other legal or commercial entity.

(13) “Person acting as a parent” means a person, other than a parent, who:

a. Has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a child-custody proceeding; and

b. Has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the law of this State.

(14) “Physical custody” means the physical care and supervision of a child.

(15) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(16) “Tribe” means an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan Native village, which is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

(17) “Warrant” means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.

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§ 50A-103. Proceedings governed by other law.
This Article does not govern an adoption proceeding or a proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child.

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§ 50A-104. Application to Indian tribes
(a) A child-custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child, as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq., is not subject to this Article to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

(b) A court of this State shall treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying Parts 1 and 2.

(c) A child-custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this Article must be recognized and enforced under Part 3.

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§ 50A-105. International application of Article
(a) A court of this State shall treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying Parts 1 and 2.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), a child-custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this Article must be recognized and enforced under Part 3.

(c) A court of this State need not apply this Article if the child-custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.

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§ 50A-106. Effect of child-custody determination
A child-custody determination made by a court of this State that had jurisdiction under this Article binds all persons who have been served inaccordance with the laws of this State or notified in accordance with G.S. 50A-108 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to those persons, the determination is conclusive as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the extent the determination is modified.

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§ 50A-107. Priority
If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this Article is raised in a child-custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, must be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.

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§ 50A-108. Notice to persons outside State
(a) Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this State may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this State for service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is made. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice but may be by publication if other means are not effective.

(b) Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the law of this State or by the law of the state in which the service is made.

(c) Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

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§ 50A-109. Appearance and limited immunity
(a) A party to a child-custody proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a proceeding to enforce or register a child-custody determination, is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this State for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of participating, in the proceeding.

(b) A person who is subject to personal jurisdiction in this State on a basis other than physical presence is not immune from service of process in this State. A party present in this State who is subject to the jurisdiction of another state is not immune from service of process allowable under the laws of that state.

(c) The immunity granted by subsection (a) does not extend to civil litigation based on acts unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under this Article committed by an individual while present in this State.

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§ 50A-110. Communication between courts
(a) A court of this State may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this Article.

(b) The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, they must be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.

(c) Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of the communication.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), a record must be made of a communication under this section. The parties must be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.

(e) For the purposes of this section, “record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

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§ 50A-111. Taking testimony in another state
(a) In addition to other procedures available to a party, a party to a child-custody proceeding may offer testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowable in this State for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.

(b) A court of this State may permit an individual residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this State shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

(c) Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this State by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.

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§ 50A-112. Cooperation between courts; preservation of records
(a) A court of this State may request the appropriate court of another state to:
(1) Hold an evidentiary hearing;

(2) Order a person to produce or give evidence pursuant to procedures of that state;

(3) Order that an evaluation be made with respect to the custody of a child involved in a pending proceeding;

(4) Forward to the court of this State a certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise presented, and any evaluation prepared in compliance with the request; and

(5) Order a party to a child-custody proceeding or any person having physical custody of the child to appear in the proceeding with or without the child.

(b) Upon request of a court of another state, a court of this State may hold a hearing or enter an order described in subsection (a).

(c) Travel and other necessary and reasonable expenses incurred under subsections (a) and (b) may be assessed against the parties according to the law of this State.

(d) A court of this State shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child-custody proceeding until the child attains 18 years of age. Upon appropriate request by a court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward a certified copy of those records.

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§ 50A-201. Initial child-custody jurisdiction
(a) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204, a court of this State has jurisdiction to make an initial child-custody determination only if:

(1) This State is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding, and the child is absent from this State but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this State;

(2) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under subdivision (1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this State is the more appropriate forum under G.S. 50A-207 or G.S. 50A-208, and:

a. The child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this State other than mere physical presence; and

b. Substantial evidence is available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships;

(3) All courts having jurisdiction under subdivision (1) or (2) have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this State is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under G.S. 50A-207 or G.S. 50A-208; or

(4) No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in subdivision (1), (2), or (3).

(b) Subsection (a) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child-custody determination by a court of this State.

(c) Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child-custody determination.

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§ 50A-202. Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction
(a) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204, a court of this State which has made a child-custody determination consistent with G.S. 50A-201 or G.S. 50A-203 has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until:

(1) A court of this State determines that neither the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not have a significant connection with this State and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or

(2) A court of this State or a court of another state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this State.

(b) A court of this State which has made a child-custody determination and does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under this section may modify that determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under G.S. 50A-201.

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§ 50A-203. Jurisdiction to modify determination
Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204, a court of this State may not modify a child-custody determination made by a court of another stateunless a court of this State has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under G.S. 50A-201(a)(1) or G.S. 50A-201(a)(2) and:

(1) The court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-202 or that a court of this State would be a more convenient forum under G.S. 50A-207; or

(2) A court of this State or a court of the other state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in the other state.

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§ 50A-204. Temporary emergency jurisdiction
(a) A court of this State has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this State and the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.

(b) If there is no previous child-custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this Article and a child-custody proceeding has not been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203, a child-custody determination made under this section remains in effect until an order is obtained from a court of a state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203. If a child-custody proceeding has not been or is not commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203, a child-custody determination made under this section becomes a final determination if it so provides, and this State becomes the home state of the child.

(c) If there is a previous child-custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this Article, or a child-custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203, any order issued by a court of this State under this section must specify in the order a period that the court considers adequate to allow the person seeking an order to obtain an order from the state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203. The order issued in this State remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other state within the period specified or the period expires.

(d) A court of this State which has been asked to make a child-custody determination under this section, upon being informed that a child-custody proceeding has been commenced in, or a child-custody determination has been made by, a court of a state having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203 shall immediately communicate with the other court. A court of this State which is exercising jurisdiction pursuant to G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203, upon being informed that a child-custody proceeding has been commenced in, or a child-custody determination has been made by, a court of another state under a statute similar to this section shall immediately communicate with the court of that state to resolve the emergency, protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the temporary order.

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§ 50A-205. Notice; opportunity to be heard; joinder
(a) Before a child-custody determination is made under this Article, notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the standards of G.S. 50A-108 must be given to all persons entitled to notice under the law of this State as in child-custody proceedings between residents of this State, any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated, and any person having physical custody of the child.

(b) This Article does not govern the enforceability of a child-custody determination made without notice or an opportunity to be heard.

(c) The obligation to join a party and the right to intervene as a party in a child-custody proceeding under this Article are governed by the law of this State as in child-custody proceedings between residents of this State.

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§ 50A-206. Simultaneous proceedings
(a) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204, a court of this State may not exercise its jurisdiction under this Part if, at the time of the commencement of the proceeding, a proceeding concerning the custody of the child has been commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this Article, unless the proceeding has been terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this State is a more convenient forum under G.S. 50A-207.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204, a court of this State, before hearing a child-custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information supplied by the parties pursuant to G.S. 50A-209. If the court determines that a child-custody proceeding has been commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this Article, the court of this State shall stay its proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this Article does not determine that the court of this State is a more appropriate forum, the court of this State shall dismiss the proceeding.

(c) In a proceeding to modify a child-custody determination, a court of this State shall determine whether a proceeding to enforce the determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child-custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may:

(1) Stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying, or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement;

(2) Enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement; or

(3) Proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

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§ 50A-207. Inconvenient forum
(a) A court of this State which has jurisdiction under this Article to make a child-custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances, and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon motion of a party, the court’s own motion, or request of another court.

(b) Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this State shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(2) The length of time the child has resided outside this State;

(3) The distance between the court in this State and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(4) The relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(5) Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(6) The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;

(7) The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(8) The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.

(c) If a court of this State determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child-custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

(d) A court of this State may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this Article if a child-custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

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§ 50A-208. Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct
(a)  Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-204 or by other law of this State, if a court of this State has jurisdiction under this Article because a person seeking to invoke its jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court shall decline to exercise its jurisdiction unless:

(1) The parents and all persons acting as parents have acquiesced in the exercise of jurisdiction;

(2) A court of the state otherwise having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203 determines that this State is a more appropriate forum under G.S. 50A-207; or

(3) No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203.

(b) If a court of this State declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to subsection (a), it may fashion an appropriate remedy to ensure the safety of the child and prevent a repetition of the unjustifiable conduct, including staying the proceeding until a child-custody proceeding is commenced in a court having jurisdiction under G.S. 50A-201 through G.S. 50A-203.

(c) If a court dismisses a petition or stays a proceeding because it declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to subsection (a), it shall assess against the party seeking to invoke its jurisdiction necessary and reasonable expenses including costs, communication expenses, attorneys’ fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees are sought establishes that the assessment would be clearly inappropriate. The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against this State unless authorized by law other than this Article.

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§ 50A-209. Information to be submitted to court
(a) In a child-custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child’s present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party:

(1) Has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, the pleading or affidavit shall identify the court, the case number, and the date of the child-custody determination, if any;

(2) Knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, the pleading or affidavit shall identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding; and

(3) Knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

(b) If the information required by subdivisions (a) is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

(c) If the declaration as to any of the items described in subdivisions (a)(1) through (3) is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and other matters pertinent to the court’s jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.

(d) Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceeding in this or any other state that could affect the current proceeding.

(e) If a party alleges in an affidavit or a pleading under oath that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be jeopardized by disclosure of identifying information, the information must be sealed and may not be disclosed to the other party or the public unless the court orders the disclosure to be made after a hearing in which the court takes into consideration the health, safety, or liberty of the party or child and determines that the disclosure is in the interest of justice.

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§ 50A-210. Appearance of parties and child
(a) In a child-custody proceeding in this State, the court may order a party to the proceeding who is in this State to appear before the court in person with or without the child. The court may order any person who is in this State and who has physical custody or control of the child to appear in person with the child.

(b) If a party to a child-custody proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this State, the court may order that a notice given pursuant to G.S. 50A-108 include a statement directing the party to appear in person with or without the child and informing the party that failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to the party.

(c) The court may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the child and of any person ordered to appear under this section.

(d) If a party to a child-custody proceeding who is outside this State is directed to appear under subsection (b) or desires to appear personally before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses of the party so appearing and of the child.

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§ 50A-301. Definitions
In this Part:

(1) “Petitioner” means a person who seeks enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child-custody determination.

(2) “Respondent” means a person against whom a proceeding has been commenced for enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child-custody determination.

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§ 50A-302. Enforcement under Hague Convention
Under this Part, a court of this State may enforce an order for the return of the child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as if it were a child-custody determination.

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§ 50A-303. Duty to enforce
(a) A court of this State shall recognize and enforce a child-custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with this Article or the determination was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of this Article, and the determination has not been modified in accordance with this Article.

(b) A court of this State may utilize any remedy available under other law of this State to enforce a child-custody determination made by a court of another state. The remedies provided in this Part are cumulative and do not affect the availability of other remedies to enforce a child-custody determination.

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§ 50A-304. Temporary visitation
(a) A court of this State which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child-custody determination may issue a temporary order enforcing:
(1) A visitation schedule made by a court of another state; or

(2) The visitation provisions of a child-custody determination of another state that does not provide for a specific visitation schedule.

(b) If a court of this State makes an order under subdivisions (a)(2) of this section, it shall specify in the order a period that it considers adequate to allow the petitioner to obtain an order from a court having jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Part 2. The order remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other court or the period expires.

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§ 50A-305. Registration of child-custody determination
(a) A child-custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this State, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the appropriate court in this State:

(1) A letter or other document requesting registration;

(2) Two copies, including one certified copy, of the determination sought to be registered, and a statement under penalty of perjury that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person seeking registration the order has not been modified; and

(3) Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-209, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child-custody determination sought to be registered.

(b) On receipt of the documents required by subsection (a), the registering court shall:

(1) Cause the determination to be filed as a foreign judgment, together with one copy of any accompanying documents and information, regardless of their form; and

(2) Direct the petitioner to serve notice upon the persons named pursuant to subdivison (a)(3), including notice of their opportunity to contest the registration in accordance with this section.

(c) The notice required by subdivision (b)(2) must state that:

(1) A registered determination is enforceable as of the date of the registration in the same manner as a determination issued by a court of this State;

(2) A hearing to contest the validity of the registered determination must be requested within 20 days after service of notice; and

(3) Failure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child-custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.

(d) A person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order must request a hearing within 20 days after service of the notice. At that hearing, the court shall confirm the registered order unless the person contesting registration establishes that:

(1) The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Part 2;

(2) The child-custody determination sought to be registered has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2; or

(3) The person contesting registration was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of G.S. 50A-108 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which registration is sought.

(e) If a timely request for a hearing to contest the validity of the registration is not made, the registration is confirmed as a matter of law, and the person requesting registration and all persons served must be notified of the confirmation.

(f) Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted at the time of registration.

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§ 50A-306. Enforcement of registered determination
(a) A court of this State may grant any relief normally available under the law of this State to enforce a registered child-custody determination made by a court of another state.

(b) A court of this State shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify, except in accordance with Part 2, a registered child-custody determination of a court of another state.

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§ 50A-307. Simultaneous proceedings
If a proceeding for enforcement under this Part is commenced in a court of this State and the court determines that a proceeding to modify the determination is pending in a court of another state having jurisdiction to modify the determination under Part 2, the enforcing court shall immediately communicate with the modifying court. The proceeding for enforcement continues unless the enforcing court, after consultation with the modifying court, stays or dismisses the proceeding.

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§ 50A-308. Expedited enforcement of child-custody determination
(a) A petition under this Part must be verified. Certified copies of all orders sought to be enforced and of any order confirming registration must be attached to the petition. A copy of a certified copy of an order may be attached instead of the original.

(b) A petition for enforcement of a child-custody determination must state:

(1) Whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, what the basis was;

(2) Whether the determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court whose decision must be enforced under this Article and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(3) Whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(4) The present physical address of a child and the respondent, if known;

(5) Whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorneys’ fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officials and, if so, the relief sought; and

(6) If the child-custody determination has been registered and confirmed under G.S. 50A-305, the date and place of registration.

(c) Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall issue an order directing the respondent to appear in person with or without the child at a hearing and may enter any order necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child. The hearing must be held on the next judicial day after service of the order unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The court may extend the date of hearing at the request of the petitioner.

(d) An order issued under subsection (c) must state the time and place of the hearing and advise the respondent that at the hearing the court will order that the petitioner may take immediate physical custody of the child and the payment of fees, costs, and expenses under G.S. 50A-312, and may schedule a hearing to determine whether further relief is appropriate, unless the respondent appears and establishes that:

(1) The child-custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under G.S. 50A-305 and that:

a. The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Part 2;

b. The child-custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2;

c. The respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of G.S. 50A-108 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) The child-custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under G.S. 50A-304, but has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2.

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§ 50A-309. Service of petition and order
Except as otherwise provided in G.S. 50A-311, the petition and order must be served, by any method authorized by the law of this State, upon respondent and any person who has physical custody of the child.

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§ 50A-310. Hearing and order
(a) Unless the court issues a temporary emergency order pursuant to G.S. 50A-204 upon a finding that a petitioner is entitled to immediate physical custody of the child, the court shall order that the petitioner may take immediate physical custody of the child unless the respondent establishes that:

(1) The child-custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under G.S. 50A-305 and that:

a. The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under Part 2;

b. The child-custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2; or

c. The respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of G.S. 50A-108 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) The child-custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under G.S. 50A-305 but has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2.

(b) The court shall award the fees, costs, and expenses authorized under G.S. 50A-312 and may grant additional relief, including a request for the assistance of law enforcement officials, and set a further hearing to determine whether additional relief is appropriate.

(c) If a party called to testify refuses to answer on the ground that the testimony may be self-incriminating, the court may draw an adverse inference from the refusal.

(d) A privilege against disclosure of communications between spouses and a defense of immunity based on the relationship of husband and wife or parent and child may not be invoked in a proceeding under this Part.

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§ 50A-311. Warrant to take physical custody of child
(a) Upon the filing of a petition seeking enforcement of a child-custody determination, the petitioner may file a verified application for the issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of the child if the child is immediately likely to suffer serious physical harm or be removed from this State.

(b) If the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witness, finds that the child is imminently likely to suffer serious physical harm or be removed from this State, it may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child. The petition must be heard on the next judicial day after the warrant is executed unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The application for the warrant must include the statements required by G.S. 50A-308(b).

(c) A warrant to take physical custody of a child must:

(1) Recite the facts upon which a conclusion of imminent serious physical harm or removal from the jurisdiction is based;

(2) Direct law enforcement officers to take physical custody of the child immediately; and

(3) Provide for the placement of the child pending final relief.

(d) The respondent must be served with the petition, warrant, and order immediately after the child is taken into physical custody.

(e) A warrant to take physical custody of a child is enforceable throughout this State. If the court finds on the basis of the testimony of the petitioner or other witness that a less intrusive remedy is not effective, it may authorize law enforcement officers to enter private property to take physical custody of the child. If required by exigent circumstances of the case, the court may authorize law enforcement officers to make a forcible entry at any hour.

(f) The court may impose conditions upon placement of a child to ensure the appearance of the child and the child’s custodian.

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§ 50A-312. Costs, fees, and expenses
(a) The court shall award the prevailing party, including a state, necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party, including a state, necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party, including costs, communication expenses, attorneys’ fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees or expenses are sought establishes that the award would be clearly inappropriate.

(b) The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against a state unless authorized by law other than this Article.

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§ 50A-313. Recognition and enforcement
A court of this State shall accord full faith and credit to an order issued by another state and consistent with this Article which enforces a child-custody determination by a court of another state unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Part 2.

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§ 50A-314. Appeals
An appeal may be taken from a final order in a proceeding under this Part in accordance with expedited appellate procedures in other civil cases. Unless the court enters a temporary emergency order under G.S. 50A-204, the enforcing court may not stay an order enforcing a child-custody determination pending appeal.

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§ 50A-315. Role of prosecutor or public official
(a) In a case arising under this Article or involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the prosecutor or other appropriate public official may take any lawful action, including resort to a proceeding under this Part or any other available civil proceeding to locate a child, obtain the return of a child, or enforce a child-custody determination if there is:

(1) An existing child-custody determination;

(2) A request to do so from a court in a pending child-custody proceeding;

(3) A reasonable belief that a criminal statute has been violated; or

(4) A reasonable belief that the child has been wrongfully removed or retained in violation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

(b) A prosecutor or appropriate public official acting under this section acts on behalf of the court and may not represent any party.

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§ 50A-316. Role of law enforcement
At the request of a prosecutor or other appropriate public official acting under G.S. 50A-315, a law enforcement officer may take any lawful action reasonably necessary to locate a child or a party and assist a prosecutor or appropriate public official with responsibilities under G.S. 50A-315.

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§ 50A-317. Costs and expenses
If the respondent is not the prevailing party, the court may assess against the respondent all direct expenses and costs incurred by the prosecutor or other appropriate public official and law enforcement officers under G.S. 50A-315 or G.S. 50A-316.

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