This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







Itasca County Health and Human Services,



Lynn Florian n/k/a Lynn Castro,





Robert W. Cadotte,




Filed June 27, 2006


Lansing, Judge



Itasca County District Court

File No. 31-F9-93-000176



John J. Muhar, Itasca County Attorney, Heidi M. Chandler, Assistant County Attorney, 123 Northeast Fourth Street, Grand Rapids, MN 55744(for respondent Itasca County Health and Human Services)


Lynn Castro, 1505 Q Street, Rio Linda, CA 95673 (pro se respondent)


Michael W. Jonak, Jonak Law Office, 426 Northwest Fourth Street, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            In this child-support enforcement action, Robert Cadotte appeals from a district court order determining the validity of an administrative order withholding income for child-support arrears.  Cadotte argues that the district court erred by validating the administrative enforcement because the county did not comply with the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act by registering the out-of-state order in Minnesota.  Because the county did not register the order after Cadotte contested its enforcement, we reverse.


            This dispute over an administrative order for income withholding to enforce a California court’s child-support-arrearage order raises procedural issues under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.  Robert Cadotte and Lynn Castro dissolved their marriage in California in 1978.  The dissolution order requires that Cadotte pay child support for their minor son.  The California court modified Cadotte’s child-support obligation in 1979 to include support for their daughter born after the dissolution order.

Cadotte later moved to Minnesota, where he continues to reside.  In October 1992 Sacramento County, California, filed a petition in Minnesota seeking to establish an order for child support and unreimbursed public assistance, to collect arrears, and to obtain either medical coverage for the minors or supplemental child support.  In March 1993 a Minnesota administrative law judge (ALJ) issued an order that recognized the California order for child support and stated Cadotte’s child-support arrears as of January 1993, which totaled $23,900.  The ALJ applied Minnesota’s child-support guidelines and ordered Cadotte to pay $315 a month in child support and $63 a month for arrears.  This order was modified in November 1993 to decrease Cadotte’s child-support obligation to $152 a month.

In February 2004 Sacramento County filed a motion in a California superior court to determine Cadotte’s child-support arrears.  The court determined in June 2004 that Cadotte owed approximately $69,000 and ordered him to pay $350 a month.  A child-support officer for Itasca County Health and Human Services in Minnesota adminstratively ordered Cadotte’s employer in July 2004 to withhold $350 a month from Cadotte’s income.

In September 2004 Cadotte filed a motion in Itasca County District Court contesting the validity and enforcement of the July 2004 administrative order.  A child-support magistrate confirmed its validity.  On Cadotte’s motion for review, the district court affirmed the magistrate’s findings.  Cadotte appeals, arguing that the court erred by enforcing the administrative order to withhold income because the county failed to register the June 2004 California order in Minnesota after he contested its enforcement.


Minnesota and California have both enacted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).  See Minn. Stat. §§ 518C.101-.902 (2004); see also Cal. Fam. Code §§ 4900-5005 (2004).  The purpose of UIFSA is to provide uniform state laws governing the establishment, enforcement, and modification of child-support orders.  Kasdan v. Berney, 587 N.W.2d 319, 322 (Minn. App. 1999).

Under UIFSA, a child-support enforcement agency may administratively enforce a support order from another state, without registering the order in the enforcing state, if the obligor does not contest the administrative enforcement.  Minn. Stat. § 518C.508.  An obligor, however, may contest administrative enforcement by providing notice to the support-enforcement agency, the employers that received an income-withholding order, and the person or agency designated to receive the withheld income.  Id. § 518C.506.  When the obligor fulfills these steps, “the support enforcement agency shall register the order.”  Id. §§ 518C.508(b), .602 (stating procedure for registering order for enforcement).  The registering party must then provide notice to the contesting party and the obligor’s employer.  Id. § 518C.605.  When the order has been registered, the contesting party may challenge the validity or enforcement of the order by raising one or more of seven statutorily enumerated defenses.  Id. § 518C.607(a).  If the party does not establish a defense, the registering court will issue an order confirming the out-of-state order.  Id. § 518C.607(c).

Itasca County Health and Human Services failed to follow the statutory procedures for enforcing the June 2004 California order to collect child-support arrears from Cadotte in Minnesota.  The county’s July 2004 order to withhold income states that its directive is “based on the support order from Minnesota.”  But the county did not obtain an order from a Minnesota court that would provide a basis for enforcing the June 2004 California order.

Although Minn. Stat. § 518C.508(b) allows administrative enforcement of an uncontested order without registration, Cadotte contested the enforcement of the California order in September 2004.  Cadotte followed the requirements of Minn. Stat. § 518C.506(b) and provided notice of his contest to Itasca County Health and Human Services; his employer, Swanson Motors; and the designated recipient of the money, the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center. 

The county acknowledges that it did not register the order in Minnesota, and, on appeal, has stated that it intends to comply with the statute and register the order.  Because the California order was not registered in compliance with UIFSA, we reverse the district court’s order enforcing the administrative income withholding.  See In re Marriage of Erickson, 991 P.2d 123, 125 (Wash. App. 2000) (holding that district court may not enforce support order issued by different state when order was not registered under UIFSA); see also Garde v. One 1992 Ford Explorer XLT, 662 N.W.2d 165, 167 (Minn. App. 2003) (holding that district court may not enforce order when party failed to comply with statutory procedural requirements).