Altman v. Altman

1984-NMCA-060, 101 N.M. 380, 683 P.2d 62

 

RULE:

The Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 40-6-1 through 40-6-41 (1978), is designed to provide an inexpensive, simplified and effective means whereby an obligee in one state (the initiating state) can enforce the duties of support owed by an obligor in another state (the responding state) without necessarily having to leave the state, and without getting the parties involved in other complex, collateral issues. Section 40-6-38 of the Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 40-6-38 (1978), permits a former spouse who claims non-payment of support obligations to register a support order from the initiating state in a responding state's district court. The court clerk is to docket the case and give notice to the obligor and the prosecuting attorney in accordance with N.M. Stat. Ann. § 40-6-1 through 40-6-41.

FACTS:


Petitioner husband requested modification of child support and alimony provisions based on changed circumstances. The wife moved for dismissal, and argued that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The district judge reduced the alimony, but increased the child support. The wife challenged the district court's jurisdictional authority to modify the judgment under the , N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 40-6-1 through 40-6-41 (1978). Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA). The court affirmed.

ISSUE:

 Did the district court have jurisdiction to consider the changed circumstances issue?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The husband's request for relief empowered the district court to consider modification of the Florida decree. Therefore, if RURESA applied to alimony, the district court was invested with authority to modify the foreign divorce decree. However, even If RURESA did not apply, the district court nevertheless had authority under N.M. Stat. Ann. § Section 40-4-7 (1978) to modify provisions in the Florida decree for future alimony because the decree was a final judgment of the Florida court, which was entitled to full faith and credit. Moreover there was no error in the unilateral decision to increase the child support award. The wife's alimony was sufficiently reduced so as to permit the district court in its equitable powers to increase the child support award. This was consistent with the provisions in the property settlement agreement that provided for increase of child support upon termination of alimony.

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