St. Louis County District Court File No. F9-83-006645.
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Minge, Judge; and Wright, Judge.
1. Absent a showing of prejudice, service of documents may be effective even if not in compliance with all requirements of the Minnesota Rules of General Practice.
2. A parent of a child incapable of self-support may request continued support after the child reaches the age when the support obligation for an able-bodied child terminates.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Minge, Judge
Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded
Appellant Karl J. Hansen challenges the district court's decision to review a child-support magistrate's decision and to continue his child-support obligation. Appellant argues the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear respondent Lynn C. Maki's motion for review because respondent's motion for review was served improperly and because respondent did not act to extend appellant's child-support obligation before the child reached the age of 20. Appellant also challenges the district court's denial of his claim for a refund of child-support overpayment. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for determination of whether the parties' son is capable of self-support and, if so, a refund of overpayments.
Appellant and respondent are the parents of a son who has Down's Syndrome. Their son was born on July 3, 1982, and was raised by and lives with respondent. The parties were never married. In 1983, appellant was ordered to pay child support to respondent. The child attended secondary school until the spring of 2003, just prior to turning 21. Although no motion was made or action commenced to continue support, the St. Louis County Child Support Collections Division continued to withhold child-support payments from appellant's income.
In June 2003, appellant moved to terminate his child-support obligation as of his son's 20th birthday and for a refund of child support collected from him since July 2002. Respondent objected. On July 21, 2003, the child-support magistrate (CSM) found that respondent had failed to move to extend appellant's child-support obligations past the statutory date of normal emancipation, that respondent had failed to provide any medical evidence or verification of her assertion that the parties' son is incapable of supporting himself, and that the issue of the child's disability would not be addressed. The CSM concluded that the burden of establishing disability was on respondent as the obligee and that unless extended, the obligation automatically terminated on the son's 20th birthday as a matter of law. The CSM then granted appellant's request that his child-support obligation terminate effective July 3, 2002. The district court administrator sent a copy of the CSM's order and a document entitled "Notice of Filing of Order and Right to Review or Appeal" to both parties. The document, which recites that it was approved by the Conference of Chief Judges, explained
If you decide to request a review, you must do ALL of the following on or before the following date: August 18, 2003.
(If you fail to complete a, b, c, and d as listed below by this date, your request will be denied):
a. Serve a copy of the "Motion for Review" on each of the other parties, including the county child support agency by U.S. mail or by personal service;
b. File with the Court Administrator the original "Motion for Review";
c. File with the Court Administrator proof of service of the motion upon each of the other parties and the ...