Harry Robert Hummer, Jr.
Virginia Loftis Harry Robert Hummer, Jr.
from Choctaw Circuit Court DR-10-025.01, DR-10-025.02
THOMPSON, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Loftis ("the mother") and Harry Robert Hummer, Jr.
("the father"), were divorced by a June 2008
judgment of the Chancery Court of Tipton, Tennessee. The
Tennessee divorce judgment, among other things, awarded
custody of the parties' three minor children to the
mother, awarded the father visitation, and ordered the father
to pay child support.
March 2010, the mother filed an action ("the 2010
modification action") in the Choctaw Circuit Court
("the trial court") seeking to modify the
child-support provisions of the Tennessee divorce judgment
and seeking an award of postminority support for the
parties' disabled son. At that time, the parties'
oldest child had reached the age of majority, and, therefore,
the 2010 modification action pertained to the parties'
younger two children. The 2010 modification action was
assigned case no. DR-10-025.00. On March 16, 2011, the trial
court entered an order granting a motion to withdraw a motion
to dismiss filed by the father in the 2010 modification
action and further granting the father's motion or
agreement to submit to the trial court's jurisdiction in
February 2, 2012, the trial court entered a judgment in the
2010 modification action in which it, among other things,
determined that the parties' son ("the adult
disabled son"), who by then was 19 years old, had
special needs that created a disability requiring that the
father's child-support obligation continue past the
son's age of majority. See Ex parte Brewington,
445 So.2d 294 (Ala. 1983) (holding that a trial court may
award postminority support for an adult child who is mentally
or physically disabled and, therefore, not capable of
self-support). Neither party appealed that February 2, 2012,
judgment entered in the 2010 modification action.
February 20, 2015, the mother filed in the trial court a
petition seeking to enforce the father's child-support
obligation for the parties' adult disabled son and the
parties' youngest child, who, at that time, was still a
minor. In that petition, the mother also mentioned seeking
enforcement of the property-division portion of the Tennessee
divorce judgment, but the record contains no other mention of
that claim, and, therefore, it appears that the mother
abandoned that claim. The mother also sought an award of an
attorney fee. The trial-court clerk assigned that action case
father answered in case no. DR-10-025.01, denying liability,
and he counterclaimed, seeking a modification of his
child-support obligation. In pertinent part, the father
alleged that there had been a material change in
circumstances because, he said, the adult disabled son was
capable of self-support and was, therefore, no longer
entitled to postminority support. The father also sought an
award of an attorney fee.
part of his counterclaim, the father sought an independent
psychiatric evaluation of the adult disabled son, and the
trial court granted that request. A discovery dispute between
the parties as to that evaluation occurred, and the father
sought and obtained from the trial court an order compelling
the mother's cooperation in obtaining the ordered
evaluation. We note that each party sought to have the other
held in contempt or sought sanctions with regard to the
other's conduct during the pendency of this litigation
and that, ultimately, in its judgment the trial court denied
all pending contempt claims asserted by the parties.
March 3, 2015, the father initiated a separate action in the
trial court by filing a petition for a rule nisi seeking to
have the mother held in contempt for her purported failure to
comply with the visitation provisions of the Tennessee
divorce judgment. That action was assigned case no.
DR-10-025.02. The trial court, on the motion of the father,
entered an order consolidating case no. DR-10-025.01 and case
on January 6, 2016, the father filed in case no. DR-10-025.01
an amended counterclaim in which he sought to modify the
Tennessee divorce judgment by seeking an award of custody of
the adult disabled son and seeking an award of postminority
support from the mother. The mother opposed the father's
January 6, 2016, amended counterclaim.
26, 2017, the father amended his counterclaim in case no.
DR-10-025.01 to seek the termination of his child-support
obligation for the parties' youngest child, who had, at
that time, reached the age of majority. On July 29, 2017, the
mother and the father submitted to the trial court a signed
agreement that specified that the father's child-support
obligation should be $1, 037 per month.
December 6, 2017, judgment, the trial court modified the
father's child-support obligation for the parties'
adult disabled son, establishing that obligation at $1, 037
per month. In that judgment, the trial court also
purported to deny the father's custody-modification claim
and purported to modify the terms of the father's
visitation with the adult disabled son. The trial court
denied all pending contempt claims, and it specified that any
claims not addressed in that judgment were denied.
father filed a January 5, 2018, postjudgment motion to alter,
amend, or vacate the judgment or, in the alternative, to
dismiss the actions. In that motion, the father argued for
the first time that the trial court lacked subject-matter
jurisdiction over the actions. On March 9, 2018, the trial
court entered an order denying the father's January 5,
2018, motion, concluding that it had jurisdiction over the
parties' claims and making specific findings of fact in
support of its December 6, 2017, judgment. The father timely
appeal, the father asserts two separate arguments in support
of his contention that the trial court lacked subject-matter
jurisdiction to enter its December 6, 2017, judgment. The
father first contends that the trial court never obtained
subject-matter jurisdiction over the parties under the
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act ("the
UIFSA"), § 30-3D-101 et seq., Ala. Code 1975. In
order for a court to enforce or modify a child-support order
from another state, the UIFSA requires that the foreign order
be registered in Alabama. § 30-3B-601, Ala. Code 1975.
The procedure for registering a foreign child-support order
is set forth in § 30-3D-602, Ala. Code 1975, and §
30-3D-611, Ala. Code 1975, sets forth the authority for
modifying a foreign child-support order. A foreign
child-support order may be registered under § 30-3D-602,
Ala. Code 1975, which states, in part:
"(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 30-3D-706,
[Ala. Code 1975, ] a support order or income-withholding
order of another state or a foreign support order may be
registered in this state by sending the following records to
the appropriate tribunal in this state:
"(1) a letter of transmittal to the tribunal requesting
registration and enforcement;
"(2) two copies, including one certified copy, of the
order to be registered, including any modification of the
"(3) a sworn statement by the person requesting
registration or a certified statement by the custodian of the
records showing ...