This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).


In Re the Marriage of:

Brian Richard Ladd, petitioner,


Shanna E. Gregory Ladd,
f/k/a Shanna E. Gregory,

Filed November 2, 1999
Kalitowski, Judge

Otter Tail County District Court
File No. F3981368

Penn C. Brandborg, 315 South Mill, P.O. Box 475, Fergus Falls, MN 56538 (for respondent)

James W. Donehower, Thorwaldsen, Beeson, Malmstrom, Sorum & Donehower, P.L.L.P., 1105 Highway 10 East, P.O. Box 1599, Detroit Lakes, MN 56502-1599 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.[*]

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Following the district court's denial of her motion to dismiss this marital dissolution proceeding, appellant Shanna E. Gregory argues the court erred in concluding respondent Brian Richard Ladd met the residency requirement of Minn. Stat. § 518.07 (1998). We affirm.


A marital dissolution granted absent satisfaction of the residency requirements is void for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Thelan v. Thelan, 75 Minn. 433, 436, 78 N.W. 108, 109 (1899). The existence of subject-matter jurisdiction is a legal question we review de novo. Neighborhood Sch. Coalition v. Independent Sch. Dist. No. 279, 484 N.W.2d 440, 441 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. June 30, 1992). "[A] finding of proper domicile to confer jurisdiction for commencement of a divorce action will not be reversed unless it is palpably contrary to the evidence." Davidner v. Davidner, 304 Minn. 491, 493, 232 N.W.2d 5, 7 (1975) (citing Meddick v. Meddick, 204 Minn. 113, 282 N.W. 676 (1938)).

Appellant argues respondent was not a domiciliary or resident of Minnesota for the 180 days immediately preceding this action. Minn. Stat. § 518.07 (1998), entitled "Residence of parties," states:

No dissolution shall be granted unless (1) one of the parties has resided in this state, or has been a member of the armed services stationed in this state, for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or (2) one of the parties has been a domiciliary of this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding commencement of the proceeding.

Id. Residence is defined as "the place where a party has established a permanent home from which the party has no present intention of moving." Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 2 (1998). "Domicile is the union of residence and intention, and residence without intention, or intention without residence is of no avail." Davidner, 304 Minn. at 493, 232 N.W.2d at 7.

A legal resident who temporarily lives in another state may still meet the statutory requirements for domicile or residency. Bechtel v. Bechtel, 101 Minn. 511, 515, 112 N.W. 883, 884 (1907) (holding that wife, who was forced by husband to leave state, never intended to take up permanent abode in other state and was considered legal resident). "If the change in physical presence is made without intent to abandon the old home, domicile has not changed." Davidner, 304 Minn. at 494, 232 N.W.2d at 7 (holding husband's move from Minnesota to Utah for medical residency was only for definite period and he formed no intent to remain permanently in Utah).

Here, the time period in question is the 180 days prior to June 29, 1998, when appellant was served with a summons and petition for dissolution. The district court found: (1) both parties resided together in Minnesota until April 1998 when appellant moved to Alaska; (2) respondent, a teacher, lived in Minnesota until late May 1998 when the school year ended; (3) in early June 1998, respondent left to visit his family in Colorado but intended to return to Minnesota to teach; and (4) in August 1998, respondent returned to Minnesota to continue his teaching employment. Because the evidence supports the district court's finding that in June 1998 respondent did not intend to move his residence from Minnesota permanently, we conclude the district court did not err in determining it had jurisdiction over this proceeding.


[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.