January 2023 | 2022-NCCOA-922 (N.C. Ct. App. 2022)

Gyger v. Clement (North Carolina 2022)

Under the Hague Convention, the  respondent parent must have minimum contacts with a country for the country to have jurisdiction to enter a child support order. Switzerland, on behalf of mother, requested North Carolina register a Swiss child support order for enforcement. The father argued the Swiss Court had no personal jurisdiction over him, which is required as part of the Hague Convention. The North Carolina district court agreed. It found the father hadn’t received the required notice and opportunity to be heard. The mother appealed. The appellate court affirmed the decision. Switzerland and the United States are both signatories to the Hague Convention on Maintenance, which sets out the procedure to enforce orders between countries. A respondent must have received notice of the foreign order sufficient to meet the standards required here in the United States. Switzerland couldn’t show personal jurisdiction in this case. The father had regularly visited the children in Switzerland but had no other contacts with the country. The mother also argued she didn’t receive notice of the hearings in this action. However, evidence showed notices were sent to the Swiss agency that initiated the action, per policy.

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