NC Family Law Statutes
§50-13.5 Procedure in Actions for Custody or Support of Minor Children
The following text is believed to be the exact statutory language concerning civil procedure in actions for child custody and child support in North Carolina.
(a) Procedure. โ 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. โ An action brought under the provisions of this section may be maintained as follows:
(c) Jurisdiction in Actions or Proceedings for Child Support and Child Custody. โ
(d) Service of Process; Notice; Interlocutory Orders. โ
(e) Notice to Additional Persons in Support Actions and Proceedings; Intervention. โ
(f) Venue. โ 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. โ 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. โ 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. โ 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. โ 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. (1858-9, c. 53, s. 2; 1871-2, c. 193, ss. 39, 46; Code, ss. 1292, 1296, 1570, 1662; Rev., ss. 1567, 1570, 1854; 1919, c. 24; C.S., ss. 1664, 1667, 2242; 1921, c. 13; 1923, c. 52; 1939, c. 115; 1941, c. 120; 1943, c. 194; 1949, c. 1010; 1951, c. 893, s. 3; 1953, cc. 813, 925; 1955, cc. 814, 1189; 1957, c. 545; 1965, c. 310, s. 2; 1967, c. 1153, s. 2; 1971, c. 1185, s. 24; 1973, c. 751; 1979, c. 110, s. 12; c. 563; c. 709, s. 3; 1981, c. 735, s. 3; 1983, c. 587; 1985, c. 575, s. 4; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 893, s. 3.1; 1999-223, ss. 11, 12.)
The statutory language quoted above is believed to be accurate as of 1 October 2009. However, you should check with an attorney to ensure the statutory language has not changed.
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