M E M O
TO:Joint Procedure Committee
RE:Rule 3.3, N.D.R.Ct.; Change of Judge for Postjudgment Motion or Proceeding
The Committee has received a request from Judge Wefald to amend N.D.R.Ct. 3.3. Judge Wefald would like a new subdivision in Rule 3.3 authorizing a judge from the same judicial district in which a child support order or judgment was entered to amend or enforce the order or judgment, regardless of whether the judge originally ordered entry of the order or judgment. An amended Rule 3.3 thus would give any judge within a given judicial district the ability to amend or enforce child support orders or judgments entered within the district.
Rule 3.3 was originally drafted pursuant to a request from Judge Graff, who sought more judicial flexibility in misdemeanor procedures, and most of the committee's prior discussion regarding Rule 3.3 centered on its applicability to criminal cases. See Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of September 24-25, 1998, at 5-6; April 30-May 1, 1998, at 5-6. A provision similar to the one now suggested by Judge Wefald was considered and rejected by the committee in April 1998. See Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of April 30-May 1, 1998, at 5.
North Dakota courts have continuing jurisdiction to amend or enforce child support orders under N.D.C.C. §14-05-22(1). The Supreme Court's statements of this rule seem to suggest that continuing jurisdiction resides with the trial court that rendered the given child support order, rather than with the district court as a whole. See Cordie v. Tank, 538 N.W.2d 214 (N.D. 1995). The committee may wish to discuss whether the proposed amendment to Rule 3.3 is consistent with North Dakota law regarding continuing jurisdiction.