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Peterson v. Peterson

Supreme Court of Idaho

March 18, 2014

DEBRA A. PETERSON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
MYRON G. PETERSON, Defendant, and STATE OF IDAHO, Department of Health and Welfare, Child Support Services, Intervenor-Appellant

As Amended June 24, 2014.

2014 Opinion No. 28

Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Canyon County. The Hon. Molly J. Huskey, District Judge, and the Hon. Dayo O. Onanubosi, Magistrate Judge.

The order of the district court is reversed.

Michael S. Keim, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, argued for appellant.

Peter W. Guyon, Salt Lake City, Utah, argued for respondent.

EISMANN, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, Justices J. JONES, W. JONES, and HORTON CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1245

[156 Idaho 86] EISMANN, Justice.

This is an appeal out of Canyon County from an appellate judgment of the district court reversing the order of the magistrate court which granted a motion to renew a judgment for child support. We reverse the district court's holding that the motion to renew the judgment was barred by the statute of limitations.

I.

Factual Background.

On October 3, 1985, a decree of divorce was entered terminating the marriage of Debra A. Peterson and Myron G. Peterson. The decree awarded physical custody of the parties' children to Ms. Peterson and ordered Mr. Peterson to pay child support. By order entered on January 12, 1998, the decree was amended to change physical custody of one of the children to Mr. Peterson and to order Ms. Peterson to pay child support for that child until the child reached the age of nineteen years, finished high school, or was emancipated, whichever happened first. The child was emancipated in April 2002.

In 1988, Idaho Code section 5-245 was enacted to provide a statute of limitations for an action or proceeding to collect child support arrearages. Ch. 199, § 1, 1988 Idaho Sess. Laws 378, 378. The statute provided that any such action or proceeding must be commenced within five years after the child died or reached the age of majority, whichever occurred first. Id.

In 1978, the legislature had enacted Idaho Code section 10-1111, which provided for the renewal of a judgment, Ch. 115, § 1, 1978 Idaho Sess. Laws 266, 266, but in 1995 that statute was amended to exclude judgments for child support from being renewed, Ch. 264, § 3, 1995 Idaho Sess. Laws 846, 847. The effective date of that amendment was July 1, 1995. I.C. § 67-510.

The last child of Mr. and Ms. Peterson was emancipated in April 2002 when he attained the age of majority. Thus, under the existing law at that time, the judgment for child support could not be renewed and any action or proceeding to collect unpaid child support arrearages must have been commenced by April 2007.

In 2011, Idaho Code section 10-1111 was amended by Senate Bill No. 1103 to provide for the renewal of judgments for child support. The amendment added the following provision:

(2) Unless the judgment has been satisfied, and prior to the expiration of the lien created in section 10-1110, Idaho Code, or any renewal thereof, a court that has entered a judgment for child support may, upon motion, renew such judgment. The renewed judgment may be enforced in the same manner as the original judgment, and the lien established thereby shall continue for ten (10) years from the date of the renewed judgment.

Ch. 104, § 3, 2011 Idaho Sess. Laws 267, 268.

Thus, the 2011 amendment provided that a judgment for child support could be renewed, and it set the time limit for doing so as being the expiration of the judgment lien created by Idaho Code section ...


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