IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF DONAVEN E. HENRICKSEN, Deceased. IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF DARLENE V. HENRICKSEN, Deceased. SARITA HENRICKSEN, Petitioner-Appellee,
JIM HENRICKSEN, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Carl J.
ex-husband appeals from a ruling ordering him to pay unpaid
child support and daycare expenses. REVERSED AND REMANDED
Jennifer Bennett Finn of Pelzer Law Firm, LLC, Estherville,
Redenbaugh of The Law Offices of Redenbaugh & Mohr, P.C.,
Storm Lake, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson,
DANILSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
Henricksen (Jim) appeals from the district court ruling
ordering him to pay unpaid child support and daycare
expenses. Jim contends the district court erred in vacating
its prior ruling. Alternatively, Jim contends he received
inadequate notice of the amount of alleged arrearages, and
thus the court should not have concluded he was barred from
contesting the computation of arrearages and interest or from
presenting defenses. Jim contends the court should have
applied the law of Oklahoma in computing the amount of
arrearages and accrual of interest.
conclude Jim's appeal of the order vacating the previous
ruling is timely but without merit. However, because Jim did
not receive proper notice of the amount of alleged arrearages
now claimed by his ex-wife Sarita Henricksen (Sarita), we
conclude it was improper to exclude Jim's arguments and
defenses regarding the actual amount owed. We reverse and
remand for a new hearing to allow Jim to present his defenses
except he is precluded from raising the statute of
limitations. The arrearages and interest shall be determined
by Oklahoma law.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Jim divorced in 1989 in Oklahoma. At the time of their
divorce, they had two minor children. The Oklahoma divorce
decree ordered Jim to pay Sarita $351.21 per month for child
support. Jim was also ordered to pay Sarita
"employment-related daycare expenses," which, at
the time of the decree, were $307.02 per month. The decree
also provided that "[i]n the event the amount of daycare
expenses change, [Jim] is ordered to pay to [Sarita] 71.4% of
the total amount incurred." The decree also ordered Jim
to pay a portion of the children's healthcare-related
on the ages of the children, Jim was to pay child support
until April 2005. The record establishes Sarita had daycare
expenses for the children until sometime in 2001. Jim only
sporadically paid his child-support obligation, and the few
payments he did make were far less than what he had been
ordered to pay.
2012, Jim's parents' estates ("the Estate")
were admitted to probate in Emmet County, Iowa. The bulk of
the Estate consisted of land valued at $2, 695, 000. Jim and
his brothers, Gary and Wayne, were beneficiaries of their
October 9, 2013, Sarita filed an affidavit and petition in
Emmet County requesting registration and enforcement of the
support order from the Oklahoma divorce decree. This
affidavit claimed "the amount of arrearage under the
support order for which I seek registration and enforcement
is a minimum of $101, 496.36." On October 14, a
certified copy of the Oklahoma divorce decree was filed in
Emmet County, and the county clerk filed a notice of filing
of a foreign judgment.
December 26, 2013, Sarita filed a request for general
execution for $353, 819.10, which was calculated by combining
the monthly child support and daycare amounts and applying
ten percent interest per annum beginning May 16,
1989. The county clerk entered the general
execution on December 30, and the sheriff received it the
same day. The sheriff then served the attorney for the Estate
with notice of garnishment in the amount of $353, 839.10.
January 17, 2014, the Estate requested a court hearing to
determine the "validity of the claims of Sarita
Henricksen and the State of Iowa in order to close this
estate and distribute assets pursuant to the Last Will and
Testament of Donaven E. Henricksen."
Emmet County Clerk mailed Jim notice of the registration of
the support order on January 29, 2014. This notice informed
Jim that Sarita had filed the support order on October 14,
2013, that a hearing to contest the order needed to be
requested within twenty days after the mailing or service of
the notice, that failure to contest the validity or
enforcement of the order within the twenty days would result
in confirmation of the order, and that failure to timely
contest the order would preclude future contest with respect
to any matter that could have been asserted. The notice
informed Jim, "The amount of alleged arrearages is $101,
496.36." A copy of the Oklahoma divorce decree was
included with the notice. The same day the notice was mailed
and filed, the Estate filed a motion to continue the hearing
on the validity of Sarita's claims, because "Jim
Henricksen, son of the decedent, has contacted the
undersigned and requested a continuance of the above hearing
in order to obtain counsel." The court granted the
continuance and referenced that the continuance was
"upon request of decedent's son." The
twenty-day period for Jim to contest the validity or
enforcement of the support order expired February 18, 2014,
and Jim did not request a hearing within that time period.
March 3, 2014, Sarita filed an "assignment of
judgments" to Ray Sullins, a disbarred
attorney. That same day, Sullins filed an
application to the court to order the Estate to set aside
property for satisfaction of the support order and to place
liens and order execution on Jim's property. Sarita
joined in this application. Jim filed an answer to this
application on March 14, 2014, and generally denied the
matters asserted in the application. Jim's answer
acknowledged that the notice sent by the Emmet County Clerk
informed him of a judgment for $101, 496.36 but also noted
that was "not the amount claimed in a garnishment and
levy by [Sarita]."
Estate's petition on the validity and priority of claims
was heard by the district court on March 17, 2014. The court
also heard Sullins's March 3 application. Sarita
attempted to participate in the hearing by telephone but,
through no fault of her own, was unable to do ...