Choi v. Choi, Record No. 0727-22-4 (Va. Ct. App. Aug. 1, 2023)
In a published order, the Court of Appeals determines whether an amendment to its jurisdictional statute affects pending appeals.
Facts. On April 21, 2022, the circuit court entered a pendente lite order requiring Maeng John Choi to pay retractive spousal and child support and arrears. On April 27, 2022, an amendment to Code § 17.1‑405 became effective, which ostensibly permitted Choi to appeal this interlocutory pendente lite order to the Court of Appeals. On May 13, 2022, he filed his notice of appeal. On April 12, 2023, during the pendency of the appeal, another amendment to Code § 17.1‑405 became effective, which prohibited the Court of Appeals from hearing interlocutory appeals in divorce, custody, support, or “any other domestic relations matter arising under Title 16.1 or 20.”
Issue. Whether a jurisdiction stripping statute applies to appeals noted before their enactment.
Holding. Jurisdiction stripping statutes are procedural and therefore apply to cases pending at the time of their enactment.
Notes. The presumption that statutes are applied prospectively can be overcome in two ways. First when the General Assembly says so, and second where the law affects procedure only. Jurisdiction “speaks to the power of the court rather than the rights or obligations of the parties,” thus it is a procedural issue.