Watauga County v. Shell (North Carolina 2019)
A child support action doesn’t need to be stayed pending an appeal in a custody case. The mother and father were parties to a child custody case filed by their children’s paternal grandparents in Watauga County, North Carolina. While the final order from the custody case was on appeal, the Avery County child support program filed for child support from the father. The Avery County district court transferred venue of the child support action to Watauga County, and the cases were combined. The district court then entered an order staying the child support claim, which the child support office appealed. Subsequently, the custody case was resolved, and the district court entered a child support order. The court of appeals found that the district court should not have stayed the proceeding. The court of appeals found the two cases should not have been combined. It found that North Carolina statutes allow for child support to proceed even if a custody claim is on appeal. It also found the district court erred in entering a child support order while the stay order was pending appeal.