This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Robert Porro, petitioner,
Filed November 26, 2002
Robert H. Schumacher, Judge
Washington County District Court
File No. F3013386
Robert Porro, 1313 North 113th Street, #5114, Omaha, NE 68154 (pro se appellant)
Robin Lee Dietz-Mayfield, Baker Court, Suite 305, 821 Raymond Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55114 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
ROBERT H. SCHUMACHER, Judge
Robert Porro (husband), a Nebraska resident, appeals the district court's decision finding that he availed himself of Minnesota jurisdiction by bringing motions and appearing at hearings in Minnesota in defense of a claim by respondent Rhonda Porro (wife) for child support modification. He maintains that he should have been informed that Minnesota might not have had jurisdiction over him. We affirm.
Husband and wife were divorced in Massachusetts on June 24, 1999. Thereafter, wife and the parties' minor child moved to Minnesota, and husband moved to Nebraska.
On June 19, 2001, wife registered the parties' divorce decree and child support order in Minnesota pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518C.602 (2000). The court administrator failed to provide notice of registration to husband.
Wife filed a motion to modify child support. Husband requested and received two continuances relative to wife's motion. Husband then filed a motion for (1) guideline child support, (2) an order allowing him to maintain health and dental premiums at the amount he was paying, and (3) granting an offset against the child support for unreimbursed travel expenditures.
On October 16, husband appeared before a child support magistrate with counsel. At the hearing the magistrate ruled she did not have jurisdiction over the wife's claims because neither party were receiving child support collection services. The parties then agreed to have the matter continued so both sides could apply for IV-D services.
Husband filed an amended motion. At the hearing on the motion, both parties were again represented by counsel. The magistrate dismissed wife's motion sua sponte for lack of jurisdiction over husband pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518C.611 (2000).
Wife filed a motion for review of the magistrate's decision. The district court ruled that Minnesota did have personal jurisdiction over husband. Husband appeals.
Jurisdictional disputes are legal questions to be reviewed de novo. Frost-Benco Elec. Ass'n v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 358 N.W.2d 639, 642 (Minn. 1984). A reviewing court is not bound by and need not give deference to a district court's decision on a purely legal issue. Id.
1. Husband claims that under Minn. Stat. § 518C.611 (2000) his written consent was necessary for Minnesota to have jurisdiction. Minn. Stat. § 518C.611 provides:
(a) After a child support order issued in another state has been registered in this state, the responding tribunal of this state may modify that order only if section 518.613 does not apply and after notice and hearing, it finds that:
(1) the following requirements are met:
(i) the child, the individual obligee, and the obligor do not reside in the issuing state;
(ii) a petitioner who is a nonresident of this state seeks modification; and
(iii) the respondent is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the tribunal of this state; or
(2) the child, or a party who is an individual, is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the tribunal of this state and all of the parties who are individuals have filed written consents in the issuing tribunal for a tribunal of this state to modify the support order and assume continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the order.
Although wife, a resident of Minnesota, moved for the modification of support in Minnesota and husband was a resident of Nebraska, husband waived any claim of lack of personal jurisdiction.
A party submits to the jurisdiction of the court, although improperly served, where the party had taken some affirmative steps invoking the power of the court or implicitly recognizing its jurisdiction. Peterson v. Eishen, 512 N.W.2d 338, 340 (Minn. 1994). In Peterson, the court stated:
For example, where a defendant has obtained extensions of time within which to move or answer, filed a motion to compel arbitration, appealed the denial of that motion and obtained court approval of a bond, [this court] held that he had submitted to the court's jurisdiction. Mississippi Valley Development Corp. v. Colonial Enterprises, 300 Minn. 66, 217 N.W.2d 760 (1974).
Id. Husband took affirmative steps to invoke Minnesota jurisdiction. He requested two continuances and took part in hearings before the magistrate. He was represented by counsel at those hearings. Husband also filed motions in Minnesota. Through these acts, husband consented to the jurisdiction of this state. He failed to challenge jurisdiction in his answer pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08. The district court did not err in determining that Minnesota had jurisdiction.
2. Husband also claims that he was denied some form of due process because the judge never told him about Minnesota’s jurisdictional requirements. The standard of review of a trial court's due process determination is de novo. State v. Biron, 266 Minn. 272, 281, 123 N.W.2d 392, 398 (1963).
The district court did not have a duty to inform husband of the state's jurisdictional requirements. It was the responsibility of husband and his attorney to be informed as to the law. See State v. King, 257 N.W.2d 693, 697 (Minn. 1977).