No matter the reason you decided to move to North Carolina, if you have a valid custody order from another state, you will want to make sure it is enforceable here. While it technically should not be necessary to register a foreign (i.e. out-of-state) custody order, local custom may require it. The best way to ensure the order is enforceable as an North Carolina Child Custody order is to register it.
A properly registered foreign custody order is fully enforceable by the contempt powers of the NC Courts. You can register the order before you move to NC or afterward. Regardless, registering it before any problems occur is important because the registration process takes time. So, if any problems do happen and you’ve already registered the order, you should be able to petition the court relatively quickly.
So, how do you register a foreign custody order in North Carolina? Follow these steps:
- Request a certified copy of the original custody order from the original court.
- Print and fill out the AOC form titled “Petition For Registration of Foreign Child Custody Order.” It’s AOC form number AOC-CV-660 and can be found here.
- Date and sign the verification page of the petition in front of a notary public.
- Print and fill out the AOC form titled “Notice of Registration of Foreign Child Custody Order.” It’s AOC form number AOC-CV-661 and can be found here.
- Make three (3) copies of the completed Petition and Notice. Make one (1) additional copy for each person, other than the defendant, listed in paragraph 3 of the Petition.
- Bring the paperwork from step 5, the certified copy of the custody order and another, regular copy of the custody order to the clerk of court’s office.
- After filing the paperwork with the clerk of court’s office in the county you reside in, mail a copy of the Petition and a copy of the Notice to the defendant via certified mail, return receipt requested.
The defendant will have 20 days from the date he is served to contest the registration. After the 20 days have passed, return to the clerk’s office with a completed Affidavit of Service (AOC-CV-662) and a blank Order Confirming Registration or Denying Confirmation of Registration of Foreign Custody Order (AOC-CV-664). If the defendant has not filed AOC-CV-663 to contest the registration, the order should be confirmed.
While relatively straightforward, the process can become confusing. If you would rather have an attorney handle the matter or would like to seek out advice specific to your case, contact us for assistance.
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