Cook County District Court File No. F10294
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge,
and Anderson, Judge.
A Minnesota court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to modify a child custody and child support order where another state retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge
Reversed; judgment vacated
Appellant-father claims the district court erred by asserting subject matter jurisdiction over a California child custody and support order and modifying the order. Father argues California retained jurisdiction pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Minn. Stat. § 518D (2002), the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Minn. Stat. §á518C (2002), and the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, 28 U.S.C. §á1738B (2000). We reverse.
In July 1998, the marriage of appellant-father Christopher L. Schroeder and respondent-mother Michele M. Schroeder was dissolved in the Superior Court of California, San Mateo County. At the time of dissolution, father was living in California and mother was living in Minnesota. Pursuant to a stipulated order entered in the same court, father was granted physical custody of the parties' minor child subject to mother's reasonable visitation and mother was required to pay child support.
The child resided in California until November 1999, when he refused to return to father following a visit to mother in Minnesota. Since that time, child has resided exclusively with mother and mother has made no child support payments.
In April 2002 mother registered the California order in Minnesota district court for enforcement pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Minn. Stat. § 518D (2002). Father did not request a hearing to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order, as authorized by section 518D.305(d).
Mother subsequently filed a motion in Minnesota district court to modify the California order by granting her physical custody of the child and terminating her support obligation. Father moved the Minnesota court to dismiss mother's motions on the grounds the California court had continuing exclusive subject matter jurisdiction. The district court issued an order accepting jurisdiction, appointed a guardian ad litem, and suspended mother's support obligation.
Father appeals, arguing the Minnesota district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the California custody and support order. Following father's notice of appeal, the district court stayed the scheduled hearing on the substantive custody and support ...