This opinion will be unpublished and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
In re Darren Arnold Block, petitioner,
Melissa Kay Block
n/k/a Melissa Kay Holmberg,
Filed January 18, 2005
Dodge County District Court
File No. FX-03-293
George F. Restovich, Bruce K. Piotrowski, George F. Restovich & Associates, 117 East Center Street, Rochester, Minnesota 55904 (for appellant)
Michael J. Corbin, Corbin Law Office, 300 Depot Square Building, 303 Northeast First Avenue, Faribault, Minnesota 55021 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Respondent registered a Texas child-support decree in Minnesota, and the district court modified appellant’s child-support obligation. Appellant argues on appeal that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the Texas decree under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. Because the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the Texas decree, we reverse.
The parties married in Minnesota. Both parties were domiciled in Minnesota at the time of their marriage. Appellant entered the United States armed forces shortly thereafter and was transferred to a military base in Texas. The parties’ marriage was dissolved by final decree on April 17, 2000, in Coryell County, Texas. The Texas court found that it had jurisdiction over the dissolution because appellant was domiciled in Texas at the time of filing. Pursuant to the dissolution, the Texas court ordered appellant to pay regular monthly child support. The decree further authorized respondent to leave the jurisdiction and establish a primary residence for the parties’ children. Respondent returned to Minnesota with the parties’ children and established their domicile in Dodge County. The Army stationed appellant in South Korea, but appellant maintained a home in Texas.
In April 2003, respondent registered the Texas decree in Dodge County, Minnesota. Respondent moved to modify appellant’s child-support obligation in Dodge County in June 2003, requesting that the district court assume subject matter jurisdiction. Appellant remained stationed in South Korea at the time of respondent’s motion. The district court held a hearing on August 19, 2003. Appellant challenged the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), Minn. Stat. ch. 518C (2002). The district court agreed to assume jurisdiction and granted respondent’s motion to modify the Texas child-support order on December 16, 2003. Appellant moved for a new trial or amended findings. The district court upheld its December 16, 2003 order modifying appellant’s child-support obligation on April 29, 2004. This appeal follows.
Questions of subject matter jurisdiction are reviewed de novo. Johnson v. Murray, 648 N.W.2d 664, 670 (Minn. 2002). Because subject matter jurisdiction goes to a court’s authority to preside over a matter, an appellant may raise the lack of subject matter jurisdiction for the first time on appeal. Cochrane v. Tudor Oaks Condo. Project, 529 N.W.2d 429, 432 (Minn. App. 1995) (citing Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c)), review denied (Minn. May 31, 1995). “An appellate court will determine jurisdictional facts on its own motion even though neither party has raised the issue.” Carlson v. Chermak, 639 N.W.2d 886, 889 (Minn. App. 2002). If this court determines that a district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over a matter on appeal, it must dismiss the action. Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c).
Appellant argues that the district court improperly assumed subject matter jurisdiction over the Texas child-support order under the UIFSA. Minnesota and Texas have both adopted the UIFSA. See Minn. Stat. §§ 518C.101–518C.902 (2002); Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 159.001–159.902 (2002). When applying and construing a state’s codification of the UIFSA, courts must give consideration to the need to promote uniformity in the law with respect to other states adopting similar provisions. See Minn. Stat. §§ 518C.901, 645.22 (2002); Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 159.901 (2002). Under section 205 of the UIFSA, as codified in Texas, Texas courts retain continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify a child-support order issued in Texas
(1) as long as this state remains the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued; or
(2) until all of the parties who are individuals have filed written consents with the tribunal of this state for a tribunal of another state to modify the order and assume continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 159.205(a) (2002); see also Minn. Stat. § 518C.205(a) (2002) (providing a similar statement of law applicable to child-support orders issued by Minnesota courts).
A Minnesota court may modify a foreign child-support order if the order has been registered in Minnesota and, after notice and a hearing, the registering court finds that:
(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.
Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(1) (2002). Additionally, a Minnesota court can assume jurisdiction to modify the Texas order if both parents are residents of Minnesota and the child no longer lives in Texas. See Minn. Stat. § 518C.613(a) (2002). And finally, a Minnesota court may modify a foreign child-support order if
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. However, if the issuing state is a foreign jurisdiction that has not enacted a law or established procedures substantially similar to the procedures in this chapter, the consent otherwise required of an individual residing in this state is not required for the tribunal to assume jurisdiction to modify the child support order.
Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(2) (2002).
Accordingly, unless the circumstances at hand satisfy one of the above three criteria, Texas retains exclusive jurisdiction over the Texas child-support order, and we must vacate the district court’s orders for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The district court does not have jurisdiction to modify the Texas child-support order under either Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(1) or Minn. Stat. § 518C.613(a) because the parties do not satisfy the residency requirements. Respondent, a Minnesota resident, is the petitioner seeking modification in Minnesota. Under section 518C.611(a)(1), the district court lacks jurisdiction if the petitioner resides in Minnesota. See Porro v. Porro, 675 N.W.2d 82, 87 (Minn. App. 2004) (holding that the requirements for jurisdiction under section 518C.611(a)(1)(ii) were not met where the mother was a Minnesota resident). Further, because appellant is not a Minnesota resident, the district court cannot exercise jurisdiction under section 518C.613(a).
Respondent argues that Minnesota courts have subject matter jurisdiction over the Texas child-support order under Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(2) because appellant did not present evidence at the district court level of Texas’s conformity with the UIFSA. Under section 518C.611(a)(2), if Texas has not codified the UIFSA, or some other similar provision, Minnesota courts may assume jurisdiction over the Texas order without obtaining appellant’s consent. Respondent’s argument fails because it misconstrues this court’s scope of review over the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdiction is an issue that can be raised for the first time on appeal. Cochrane, 529 N.W.2d at 432 (citing Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.08(c)). And this court may take judicial notice of Texas’s status as a signatory. See Minn. R. Evid. 201(b). Accordingly, because Texas is a signatory to the UIFSA, Minnesota courts do not have jurisdiction to modify the Texas child-support order under Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(2) without the consent of the parties. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 159.001–159.902.
Respondent next argues that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction under Minn. Stat. § 518C.611(a)(2) because this provision is unique to Minnesota. Texas’s codification of the UIFSA does not contain a similar jurisdiction-granting provision and, therefore, respondent contends that Texas’s codification is not “substantially similar” to the Minnesota statutes. We disagree. Respondent’s argument isolates one subpart of a section in the Minnesota codification of the UIFSA and ignores the similarity between the rest of Minn. Stat. §§ 518C.101–518C.902 and Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 159.001–159.902. The Texas UIFSA is substantially similar to the Minnesota codification. Consequently, the district court does not have subject matter jurisdiction under section 518.611(a)(2) unless appellant files a written consent.
Finally, respondent argues that the Minnesota court had ancillary subject matter jurisdiction to modify the Texas child-support order under the UIFSA because the Minnesota court had subject matter jurisdiction for purposes of custody modification under Minnesota’s codification of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). See Minn. Stat. §§ 518D.101–518D.317 (2002). Assuming that Minnesota had and exercised subject matter jurisdiction over the custody provisions of the Texas order under the UCCJEA, respondent’s argument is without merit. Any application of the ancillary jurisdiction doctrine to the UIFSA would defeat its explicit requirement of one state with exclusive jurisdiction, and its purpose of imposing uniformity. See Minn. Stat. § 645.22; National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, UIFSA (2001) Prefatory Note II.B.3 (noting that the UIFSA was meant to ensure that “only one valid support order may be effective at any one time,” even though the parties and their children may leave the issuing state). Moreover, the two Minnesota cases addressing jurisdiction under the UIFSA and UCCJEA analyze the jurisdictional requirements separately without invoking ancillary jurisdiction. See Schroeder v. Schroeder, 658 N.W.2d 909, 912–13 (Minn. App. 2003); Stone v. Stone, 636 N.W.2d 594, 596–97 (Minn. App. 2001). Accordingly, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to modify the Texas child-support order under the UIFSA.
 Although respondent’s status as a Minnesota resident disposes of the jurisdictional issue under section 518C.611(a)(1), the parties devoted considerable argument to defining “residence” under the UIFSA. The terms “residence” and “domicile” are frequently used interchangeably by our legislature, particularly in the area of family law. See Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 2 (2002) (defining “residence” to mean “the place where a party has established a permanent home from which the party has no present intention of moving”). The UIFSA gives one state continuing exclusive jurisdiction over child-support matters. An individual therefore cannot have more than one residence. Thus, “residence” for purposes of the UIFSA means domicile.