Mathews v. Mathews, 05-1090.

Decision Date07 December 2006
Docket NumberNo. 05-1090.,05-1090.
Citation368 Ark. 252,244 S.W.3d 660
PartiesPatricia Suzanne MATHEWS, Appellant, v. John Steven MATHEWS, Appellee.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Helen Rice Grinder, for appellant.

The Farrar Firm, by: Bryan J. Reis, for appellee.

TOM GLAZE, Justice.

This appeal arose out of an order establishing child support; in entering its child-support order, the trial court in the instant case also denied a motion to dismiss, filed by appellee John Steven Mathews (Steven), alleging that venue was improper in Faulkner County and that the appellant, Patricia Suzanne Mathews (Suzanne), failed to properly register the couple's Missouri divorce decree and child-support order in the Arkansas courts. The parties in this case originally filed their appellate briefs in the court of appeals. In their informational statements, both Suzanne and Steven averred that no basis for supreme court jurisdiction was being asserted; moreover, Steven's jurisdictional statement specifically asserted that his cross-appeal raised no questions of legal significance for jurisdictional purposes.

Nevertheless, the court of appeals determined that the appeal should be certified to this court, contending that the appeal presented issues of first impression, issues of substantial public interest, and issues that required clarification or development of the law involving the registration of foreign child-support orders. In its certification memo, the court of appeals stated that "[t]he specific issues that form the basis for certification have not been raised by the parties; however, the issues are preserved for appellate court review." (Emphasis added.) After briefly setting out the facts, the court of appeals' memo to this court provided as follows:

This case raises the following three issues arising from [Steven's] challenge to the registration of the foreign decree and venue of the circuit court:

1. Is modification of the child-support order contemplated where the parties were divorced in Missouri but now live in Arkansas, and is UIFSA involved?

2. Do Arkansas courts have inherent authority to modify a foreign child-support order where the child and both parents now reside in Arkansas and the child-support obligor is paying substantially less than the presumptive amount in the family-support chart?

3. If UIFSA is inapplicable to this case, must a child-support petitioner in this situation who seeks to register a foreign decree comply with the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act, Ark.Code Ann. § 16-66-601 et seq (Repl.2005)?

The court of appeals noted that neither party had "framed the arguments as we have here," but nonetheless maintained that "these issues must be resolved before determining whether venue and jurisdiction are proper in the Faulkner County Circuit Court." Our court accepted the court of appeals' certification on June 27, 2006.

This court's opinion was handed down on September 21, 2006. In that opinion, we first addressed the issues raised in Steven's cross-appeal — namely, whether the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the action on the grounds that venue was improper in Faulkner County, and whether the trial court should have granted his motion to dismiss on the grounds that Suzanne had not complied with the procedures for registering a foreign decree. After determining that venue was proper in Faulkner County, this court addressed the registration issue. In doing so, we relied on the Comments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which provide in pertinent part that, "[o]nce every individual party and the child leave the issuing state, the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of the [issuing] tribunal terminates, although the order remains in effect and enforceable until it is modified." Comment to Ark.Code Ann. § 9-17-611 (Repl.2005) (emphasis added). The Comments further note the following:

"If both parties have left the issuing state and now reside in the same state, . . . [s]uch a fact situation does not present an interstate matter and UIFSA does not apply. Rather, the issuing state has lost its continuing exclusive jurisdiction and the forum state, as the residence of both parties, should apply local law without regard to the interstate Act."

Id. (emphasis added). Based on our understanding of these Comments, we held that, because Steven, Suzanne, and their child all now reside in Arkansas, the provisions of UIFSA were "simply inapplicable."

Steven petitioned for rehearing from our opinion, contending that this court erred in finding that UIFSA was not applicable, and, more particularly, in failing "to recognize the effect of Ark.Code Ann. § 9-17-613 [(Repl.2002)]." In addition, Steven asserts...

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7 cases
  • Williams v. Williams
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 24 February 2012
    ...the father resided in Alabama in 2005 and that the children had left Missouri so that § 30–3A–613(a) applies, see Mathews v. Mathews, 368 Ark. 252, 244 S.W.3d 660 (2006) (holding that Arkansas's version of the UIFSA applied to registration and modification of foreign child-support order, ev......
  • Hennepin County v. Hill, No. A09-787.
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • 26 January 2010
    ...the original support order was issued, to Arkansas. Id. But that opinion was withdrawn only a couple months later. Mathews v. Mathews, 368 Ark. 252, 244 S.W.3d 660, 662 (2006). In the second opinion, the court held that the "UIFSA does apply" and explained that, in its prior opinion, it had......
  • Taylor v. Taylor
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • 15 February 2007
    ...reviewing court, on the entire evidence, is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. Mathews v. Mathews, 368 Ark. 252, 244 S.W.3d 660 (2006). We give due deference to the trial court's superior position to determine the credibility of the witnesses and the weig......
  • Steeland v. Steeland
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • 14 November 2018
    ...reviewing court, on the entire evidence, is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. Mathews v. Mathews , 368 Ark. 252, 244 S.W.3d 660 (2006). We give due deference to the trial court's superior position to determine the credibility of the witnesses and the wei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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