Appellant, William J. Gedeon, appeals an order of the Denver District Court recognizing certain money judgments from the State of New Mexico under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (the Act), section 13-53-101 et seq., C.R.S. 1973, and denying a motion to dismiss the action. We affirm.
This case is the result of a long and complicated series of actions which arose out of the divorce of William J. Gedeon (father) from Carrolyn L. Gedeon (mother) and the child custody decree resulting from that proceeding. The divorce decree and child custody order were entered in April of 1978 in the Arapahoe County District Court, which ordered that the daughter of the couple was to be placed in the custody of the mother and the son in the custody of the father. Liberal visitation privileges were granted. Prior to the grant of the final decree of divorce, the mother moved to New Mexico. However, she stipulated and consented to the continuing jurisdiction of the Arapahoe County District Court in the matter of child custody.
In August 1978, the son visited his mother in New Mexico, as required by the terms of the Colorado custody decree. During this visitation period, the mother filed suit in the District Court of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, seeking permanent custody of both children. That court granted temporary custody of the children to the mother. The father appeared by counsel and challenged the jurisdiction of the New Mexico court, citing the Arapahoe County District Court order and the stipulation of the mother consenting to the continuing jurisdiction of the Colorado court. During the pendency of the New Mexico action, the father, through his attorneys, filed a motion to dissolve the order granting temporary custody of the children to the mother, which was denied by the court. The father counter-petitioned for an order awarding custody of both children to him.
During the course of the New Mexico proceeding, negotiations were carried on by the parties and their attorneys to settle the custody controversy. The negotiations resulted in a stipulated Order of Custody, Visitation and Support, entered by the court on December 13, 1978. The order granted joint custody in both parties, with the primary physical custody in the mother. The order spelled out with particularity the visitation arrangements with the father in Colorado, provided for support for the minor children, and terminated alimony payments to the mother. It specifically noted the agreement of the parties to be bound by its provisions concerning custody, visitation and support both in the New Mexico action and the Colorado action.
The children subsequently visited with the father in Colorado for Christmas. He refused to return the children to the mother after the legal visitation had ended. On December 27, 1978, the father filed an affidavit in the New Mexico court, charging that his New Mexico counsel had stipulated to the order of child custody without authorization and that the order was therefore invalid.
On May 2, 1979, authenticated copies of the judgments of the New Mexico court were filed in the District Court of Denver under the provisions of the Act. Notice of the filing was mailed to the father at his last two known addresses. Within the ten-day time limit set by the Act,
The appellant-father contends the court erred in recognizing the New Mexico judgments under the Act. The Act provides that any foreign judgment, which is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of this state, shall have the same effect as a judgment of a court of this state when filed according to the procedures set out in the Act. Section 13-53-103, C.R.S.1973. Appellant contends that the New Mexico judgments are not entitled to full faith and credit under the United States Constitution, Article IV, section 1, for two reasons: first, he asserts that the New Mexico court did not have personal jurisdiction over him; and, second, he argues that the New Mexico judgments were not final judgments.
Appellant argues that the New Mexico court had no personal jurisdiction over him. This contention is not supported by the record, which clearly indicates that he both personally and through his counsel had been intimately involved in the proceedings in New Mexico from their beginning. Immediately after the custody action was filed in New Mexico, appellant, through his counsel,
Appellant also claims that the New Mexico judgments are not entitled to full faith and credit because he was never personally served with the orders surrounding the contempt proceedings. It should be noted at the outset that appellant was represented by counsel at each of the hearings involving the contempt orders and fines although he was not personally present. Therefore, he cannot claim that he was not actually notified of the proceedings and that the New Mexico court had no jurisdiction to enter the contempt order. Moreover, a child custody proceeding is a continuing process in which the court retains jurisdiction over the parties. Quintana v. Quintana, 45 N.M. 429, 115 P.2d 1011 (1941) and see 1978 N.M.Stat. Ann. § 40-4-7(C).
We hold that the New Mexico court had personal jurisdiction over the appellant, both to enter the stipulated Order of Custody, Visitation and Support and to deal with his noncompliance with that order.
Appellant also contends that the judgments of the New Mexico court are not final and, therefore, are not entitled to full faith and credit. Gruber, supra. Once more, the record does not support this claim.
The record shows that the liability for attorney's fees, the original contempt fine, and the Guardian Ad Litem's fee was determined by the court by the order of January 8, 1979, and made final and collectible without opportunity for any adjustment or purge by subsequent actions of the appellant. Similarly, $5,000 of the civil fines were reduced to judgment on February 19, 1979, and were specifically ordered "not subject to review or adjustment." Another $5,000 was reduced to judgment and ordered to be final in the same manner on March 13, 1979.
Appellant points to language in the orders of February 19 and March 13, which ordered that "all further matters be and hereby are continued," as evidence that the money judgments of those dates are not final. This argument is also without merit. Properly construed, this provision of the orders pertains only to other matters contained in the ongoing dispute. It is clear that the fines were reduced to final judgments and are not modifiable.
Appellant also challenges the constitutionality of the notice provisions of the Act. The Act requires only that the judgment debtor be notified by mail at his last known address. Appellant claims that the procedure of entering the judgment without formal notice or the requirement of a hearing is an unconstitutional taking of property without due process of law. See Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 92 S.Ct. 1983, 32 L.Ed.2d 556 (1972). We do not agree.
Fuentes, supra, and its progeny required only that pre-judgment garnishment and attachment procedures comport with the strict requirements of due process notice
It is not entirely clear what precisely due process requires by way of procedures for post-judgment filings such as this.
The judgment is affirmed.