Catawba County ex rel. Rackley v. Loggins (North Carolina 2017)

No. 152PA16 (N.C. 2017)
September 2017

Catawba County ex rel. Rackley v. Loggins, No. 152PA16 (N.C. 2017). A court maintains subject matter jurisdiction to modify a child support order even without a formal motion for modification. The parents filed a modified voluntary support agreement and order in 2001. The father failed to pay current support regularly and was involved in many contempt proceedings. In 2014, the father moved to set aside this order as void because there had not been a motion to modify the parties’ original settlement agreement. The Appellate Court agreed, and the Mother appealed. The Supreme Court found that the lower court has continuing jurisdiction over the child support issues, the statute does not contain a prerequisite that would deprive the court of jurisdiction, there was no legislative intent to create a jurisdictional prerequisite, and the statutory provision requiring a motion to modify is directory rather than mandatory. The Supreme Court also found that it inappropriate to construe the statute so strictly as to require the filing of a motion.