from the Superior Court in Pima County No. D20123993 The
Honorable Sharon Douglas, Judge Pro Tempore The Honorable
Deborah Pratte, Judge Pro Tempore
ACTION JURISDICTION ACCEPTED IN PART AND DECLINED IN PART;
RELIEF DENIED; JUDGMENT AFFIRMED
& Lieberman, PLLC, Tucson By Melissa Solyn and Scott
Lieberman Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant
Law, P.C., Tucson By Dawn Wyland Counsel for
Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General By Carol A. Salvati,
Assistant Attorney General, Phoenix Counsel for
Espinosa authored the opinion of the Court, in which
Presiding Judge Staring and Judge Miller concurred.
Scott Henderson challenges the trial court's judgment and
various rulings related to the registration and enforcement
of a foreign support order. For the reasons that follow, we
accept special action jurisdiction in part but deny relief,
and affirm the trial court's determinations in full.
and Procedural Background
We view the facts in the light most favorable to sustaining
the trial court's rulings. Bell-Kilbourn v.
Bell-Kilbourn, 216 Ariz. 521, n.1, 169 P.3d 111, 112 n.1
(App. 2007). In 1999, Scott and Suzanne Henderson initiated
marriage dissolution proceedings in Ontario, Canada and were
divorced there in 2003. After entering a number of
intermediate orders, the Superior Court of Justice, Family
Court Branch in Brampton, Ontario, issued a "final"
order in January 2009 finding Scott was more than $360, 000
in arrears on his child support obligations and imposing
monthly support payments of $9, 774 CAD. Expressing some
concern that the court had incomplete information on
Scott's income, it noted that its order was "subject
to . . . variation" pending Scott's purge of
"all existing contempts" and satisfaction of
The Canadian Family Responsibility Office  (FRO) attempted
to register the order in Hong Kong, where Scott's
employer was headquartered,  but was ultimately unsuccessful.
The 2009 order was registered in California in 2011, but
Scott left the jurisdiction before the judgment could be
enforced. Scott remarried in December 2011, and in March 2012
purchased a home in Tucson, Arizona with his new wife.
Pursuant to the Arizona Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
(UIFSA), A.R.S. §§ 25-1201 to 25-1362, Suzanne
sought registration and enforcement of the 2009 Canadian
order in Pima County. The Pima County Superior Court (trial
court) confirmed the registration of the Canadian order in
May 2013, over Scott's objections, but stayed enforcement
pending hearings to resolve Scott's claims of fraud,
modification, and partial payment.
While Suzanne was seeking to register the Canadian order,
Scott applied for its modification in the Canadian court. The
Canadian court, however, concluded Scott's modification
attempt was "a complete abuse of the process of th[e]
Court" and "a transparent effort . . . to delay the
enforcement of th[e Canadian] Court's Orders in Arizona,
" and struck his "Motion to Change." In July
2013, during the pendency of the enforcement proceedings in
Arizona, Suzanne obtained a "Mareva
Injunction" from The High Court of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region, Court of First Instance,
resulting in a "worldwide" freeze of his assets.
Although the Mareva injunction prohibited Suzanne
from initiating legal proceedings without leave of the Hong
Kong court, it specifically excepted "all necessary
steps (including court proceedings) to seek registration and
enforcement of the [Canadian Support] Order in Arizona,
Scott challenged enforcement of the Canadian support order in
Arizona at numerous hearings throughout 2014, but the trial
court ultimately determined that the order was enforceable in
Arizona. After registration was confirmed, Suzanne filed a
petition seeking a contempt finding and requesting an arrears
calculation. The court held contempt and arrearages hearings
in April and June 2015, found Scott in contempt, and entered
a $755, 313.73 USD judgment against him. The court
additionally set forth a number of conditions to purge his
contempt and awarded Suzanne attorney fees. Scott appealed
from that judgment and related orders.
During the pendency of the appeal, Suzanne filed a motion for
an expedited hearing, requested an order finding Scott in
contempt of court for failing to comply with the court's
July 31, 2015 order, and sought enforcement of that order.
The trial court granted the expedited hearing and denied
Scott's request for a continuance. After the hearing,
which was held in advance of a hearing before the Hong Kong
court regarding the Mareva Injunction, and which
Scott failed to attend, the trial court issued an
income-withholding order and enjoined him from accessing his
income and his retirement account. Scott filed a motion for a
new trial, which the court denied, and a motion for release
of the injunction, clarification, and stay of the Arizona
proceedings, which the court also denied. Scott appealed from
the trial court's order denying his requests, which we
have consolidated with his initial appeal. 
After Scott filed his opening brief in the consolidated
appeals, Suzanne filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. We granted that motion in part,
dismissing Scott's claims with respect to the contempt
finding, imposition of purge conditions and attorney fees,
and issues related to the trial court's denial of a
request for a stay of the proceedings. We took under
advisement whether to accept special-action jurisdiction to
address those claims. Because Scott has no adequate remedy by
appeal, in our discretion we exercise that jurisdiction.
See Ariz. R. P. Spec. Act. 1(a); McLaughlin v.
Jones, 240 Ariz. 560, ¶ 5, 382 P.3d 118, 120 (App.
2016); Berry v. Superior Court, 163 Ariz. 507, 508,
788 P.2d 1258, 1259 (App. 1989) (contempt finding only
reviewable by special action). We have direct appellate
jurisdiction over Scott's objections to registration of
the 2009 Canadian support order and subsequent arrearages
judgment pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-2101(A)(1). Our
jurisdiction over the denial of a motion for new trial is
pursuant to § 12-2101(A)(5)(a), and jurisdiction to
consider the trial court's refusal to dissolve the
injunction is pursuant to § 12-2101(A)(5)(b). See
also A.R.S. § 12-120.21(A)(1).
of Canadian Order and Arrears Judgment
Scott first argues the trial court erred in registering the
2009 Canadian support order and entering the $755, 313.73 USD
arrearages judgment because the underlying orders were
"not final and are subject to variance." He
maintains that the arrears amount "can and should be
varied at a later date, " relying on a provision of the
Canadian Divorce Act that allows for retroactive variance of
support orders. See Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3,
s. 17(1)(a) (2nd Supp.) (Can.). Suzanne counters that the
possibility of a future modification "does not render
the Arizona [j]udgment non-final, " and argues that
Scott's challenge to the Arizona judgment "is not
ripe for review" until such time as the registered order
is modified. Scott acknowledges he has thus far been
unsuccessful in his attempts to modify the 2009 Canadian
In 1996, Arizona enacted the Uniform Interstate Family
Support Act (UIFSA), authorizing Arizona trial courts to
register and enforce support orders issued in foreign
jurisdictions.  See A.R.S. §§ 25-1201
to 25-1303; see also H. Summary of S.B. 1332, 46th
Leg., 2d Reg. Sess. (Ariz. Apr. 28, 2004). Section 25-1304 of
the Act, a choice-of-law provision, dictates that the law of
the issuing foreign jurisdiction governs the nature, extent,
and amount of payments, as well as the computation and
payment of arrearages.
Section 17(a) of the Canadian Divorce Act allows a
"court of competent jurisdiction" to "make an
order varying, rescinding or suspending, prospectively or
retroactively" either a support or custody order. R.S.C.
1985, c. 3, s. 17(1)(a). Thus, Scott is correct that his
support order and arrearages determination may be
retroactively modified or rescinded. As previously noted, the
Canadian order registered in Arizona contains a handwritten
provision that states the order is "subject to . . .
variation upon [Scott] purging all existing contempts,
providing all answers to his undertakings, providing complete
income disclosure, and re-opening [the] pleadings."
That a support order is retroactively modifiable, however, is
not a valid defense to the enforcement of the order.
See § 25-1307 (enumerating defenses); see
also Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law of the
United States § 486 cmt. b (1987) (rejecting the view
that support orders are not final, and therefore
unenforceable, because they are commonly modified for changes
in circumstances). Arizona's UIFSA allows a "foreign
support order" to be "registered in this state for
enforcement, " § 25-1301, and defines
"[s]upport order" as a "judgment, decree,
order, decision, or directive, whether temporary, final or
subject to modification, issued in a . . . foreign country
for the benefit of a child, " § 25-1202(29).
Finding no statutory requirement that a support order must be
"final" or unmodifiable as Scott interprets the
term in order to be enforceable, we ...