This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Polk County Social Services,
o.b.o., Jody Renee Olson Whitten, petitioner,
Gary Norman Olson,
Filed September 10, 2002
Polk County District Court
File No. F599924
Wayne H. Swanson, Polk County Attorney, Andrew Ronald Johnson, Assistant Polk County Attorney, Crookston Professional Center, 223 East Seventh Street, #101, Crookston MN 56716 (for respondent Polk County Social Services)
Jody Renee Olson Whitten, 148 East 51st Terrace, Bellingham, WA 98226 (pro se respondent)
Jeffery S. Remick, Odland, Fitzgerald, Reynolds, Remick & Widseth, P.L.L.P., Bremer Bank Building, 201 ½ North Broadway, P.O. Box 457, Crookston, MN 56716 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Randall, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
On appeal in this child-support proceeding, appellant Gary Olson argues that under Lieder v. Straub, 230 Minn. 460, 42 N.W.2d 11 (1950), and its progeny, the district court lacked jurisdiction to hold him in contempt because the child to be supported had reached age 18. Appellant also argues that respondent Polk County Social Services, on behalf of mother Jody Olson, is incorrect in arguing that the 1997 enactment of Minn. Stat. § 518.6195 (Supp. 1997) superseded the Lieder line of cases. This court limited the appeal to whether the district court lost subject-matter jurisdiction to use its contempt powers to enforce appellant’s obligation to pay support when the child reached age 18 and ordered that the case would be decided without oral argument. Because the district court correctly applied the law, we now affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant cites Lieder v. Straub, 230 Minn. 460, 42 N.W.2d 11 (1950), Zieman v. Zieman, 265 Minn. 190, 121 N.W.2d 77 (1963), Dent v. Casaga, 296 Minn. 292, 208 N.W.2d 734 (1973), and Hampton v. Hampton, 303 Minn. 500, 229 N.W.2d 139 (1975), to argue that a district court loses jurisdiction to use its contempt powers to enforce a child-support order when the child to be supported reaches age 18. The county admits that appellant “correctly states” what the law in Minnesota “used to be,” but argues that the legislature’s 1997 enactment of Minn. Stat. § 518.6195 (Supp. 1997) superseded the case law cited by appellant.
Subject-matter jurisdiction is reviewed de novo by appellate courts. Johnson v. Murray, ___ N.W.2d ___, ___, 2002 WL 1578809, at *5 (Minn. July 18, 2002). Under chapter 518,
[a] child support or maintenance order constitutes prima facie evidence that the obligor has the ability to pay the award. If the obligor disobeys the order, it is prima facie evidence of contempt. The court may cite the obligor for contempt under this section, section 518.617, or chapter 588.
Minn. Stat. § 518.24 (2000) (emphasis added). Appellant alleges that the current version of Minn. Stat. § 518.24 is substantively the same as the one in place at the time of Lieder and notes that the then-existing version of Minn. Stat. § 518.24 was cited in the Lieder dissent to argue that the district court should not lose its ability to use contempt to compel payment of support arrears upon a child’s emancipation. Appellant then argues that because the Lieder dissent did not prevail, the current Minn. Stat. § 518.24 cannot be used to support the idea that contempt is available to enforce an obligation to pay support arrears when the child for whom the arrears are owed reaches age 18. Appellant makes similar arguments regarding Minn. Stat. § 518.617 and chapter 588.
These arguments, however, ignore the 1997 enactment of Minn. Stat. § 518.6195, which explicitly makes pre-emancipation collection remedies available after a child is emancipated. Section 518.6195 states that the “remedies available for the collection and enforcement of support” in chapters 518, 256, 257, and 518C “also apply” in cases where the child for whom support arrears are owed is emancipated. Minn. Stat. § 518.6195 (a). Section 518.6195 further states that it “applies retroactively to any support arrearage that accrued on or before [its 1997] enactment and to all arrearages accruing after the date of enactment.” Minn. Stat. § 518.6195 (b). Thus, because pre-emancipation collection remedies are available after the child to be supported is emancipated and because contempt is a pre-emancipation collection remedy, contempt is available as a collection remedy after emancipation. Moreover, the authorities mentioned in Minn. Stat. § 518.24 as bases for holding a support obligor in contempt state that they apply in child-support proceedings. See Minn. Stat. § 588.02 (2000) (addressing the court’s general contempt power, allowing incarceration of a contemnor, and stating that it can be applied in child-support matters); Minn. Stat. § 518.617 subd. 1 (2000) (entitled “CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS FOR NONPAYMENT OF SUPPORT”) states that under certain circumstances a support obligor who is in arrears “may be cited and punished for contempt under section 518.64, chapter 588, or this section”. Similarly, Minn. Stat. § 518.64 also allows a party or the public authority responsible for child-support payments to “bring a motion for contempt of court if the obligor is in arrears in support or maintenance payments.” Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 1 (2000).
Contempt is a pre-emancipation collection remedy and under Minn. Stat. § 518.6195, pre-emancipation collection remedies are available after the child to be supported is emancipated. Therefore, the district court did not lose subject-matter jurisdiction to use its contempt powers when appellant’s child reached age 18.