This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C2-99-1549

 

 

In Re the Marriage of:

Susan J. Pavey, petitioner,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

Michael G. Pavey,

Appellant.

 

 

Filed ­March 7, 2000

Affirmed; motion denied

Harten, Judge

 

 

Isanti County District Court

File No. F8-96-1163

 

 

James R. Doran, William C. Weeding, 416 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)

 

Douglas G. Sauter, Jason P. Rietz, Douglas G. Sauter Law Office, 199 Coon Rapids Blvd., Suite 108, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 (for respondent)

 

            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Harten, Judge, and Foley, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

HARTEN, Judge

In this marital dissolution action, appellant challenges the denial of his motion for amended findings of fact and conclusions of law, or alternatively, a new trial. Respondent seeks attorney fees on appeal.  There being no abuse of discretion, we affirm the district court judgment.  We deny respondent’s motion for attorney fees on appeal. 

FACTS

 

            Appellant Michael G. Pavey and respondent Susan J. Pavey married in 1979 and separated in 1996.  They have two children, one adult and one 14-year-old minor.

Appellant is an officer and a 50% shareholder of Pavey Brothers, Inc., a blacktopping and snowplowing business.  Because he failed to comply with discovery requests, subpoenas, or court orders, his income is difficult to ascertain.  Appellant is an admitted alcoholic with a history of drug abuse.  He owes $10,693 in child support and maintenance arrears.    

            Respondent works part-time as a registered nurse and has a monthly net income of $1,345.  She testified that appellant forced her to sell personal property to pay appellant’s credit card debts attributable to cash advances for gambling and drugs.  Because of marital debt, respondent had to declare bankruptcy and a lienholder foreclosed on the parties’ homestead.

Respondent petitioned for marriage dissolution.  The district court eventually entered a second amended judgment dissolving the parties’ marriage.  Because of appellant’s non-compliance with discovery rules, child support orders, and other obligations, the district court awarded respondent $17,500 in attorney fees.  Appellant now challenges the denial of his post-judgment motions.     

D E C I S I O N

1.         Child Support

The district court has broad discretion to provide for the support of the parties’ children and will not be reversed unless its decision was clearly erroneous.  Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50-51 (Minn. 1984).  Appellant contends that the district court’s award of $1,200 per month child support is clearly erroneous.  

Specifically, appellant claims that the district court erred in determining his income.  The district court has broad discretion in determining the income of self-employed individuals because “the opportunity for a self-employed person to support himself yet report a negligible net income is too well known to require exposition.”  Ferguson v. Ferguson, 357 N.W.2d 104, 108 (Minn. App. 1984).  Appellate courts defer to a district court’s credibility determination that a party acted in bad faith in allowing his income to stay artificially low.  See Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 (Minn. 1988) (appellate courts must defer to district court’s credibility determinations).

Here, the district court found that appellant “clearly understates his income.”  The evidence shows that in 1995, appellant’s monthly income was between $3,899 and $4,140.  In 1996, appellant’s monthly income increased to between $4,305 and $4,545.  Additionally, appellant’s company pays his monthly truck and fuel bills. 

The record supports the district court’s conclusion that appellant’s income, including vehicle allowance, is at least $4,800 per month.  The decision to award $1,200 per month in child support, the guideline amount, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518.551 (1998), is not clearly erroneous.   

2.         Supervised Visitation

A district court has extensive discretion in deciding visitation issues and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion.  Olson v. Olson, 534 N.W.2d 547, 550 (Minn. 1995).  Minn. Stat. § 518.175, subd. 1 (1998) provides that visitation shall be restricted if a court finds that visitation is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health or development.

Appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion in ordering supervised visitation without finding that unsupervised visitation was likely to endanger his child’s physical or emotional health, or impair her emotional development.  But the district court found that appellant has an extensive history of chemical dependency and that his relationship with his daughter has been damaged by two years without any direct personal contact. 

Appellant does not challenge these factual findings.  Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that supervised visitation is appropriate at this time.

3.         Spousal Maintenance

The district court has broad discretion in making spousal maintenance determinations.  The district court’s decision to reserve maintenance will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion.  Wopata v. Wopata, 498 N.W.2d 478, 485 (Minn. App. 1993).

            The district court may reserve jurisdiction of spousal maintenance for determination at a later date.  Minn. Stat. 518.55, subd. 1 (1998).  Reserving jurisdiction over maintenance is appropriate where the court may need to assess future changes in the parties’ situations.  See, e.g., Fastner v. Fastner, 427 N.W.2d 691, 700 (Minn. App. 1988) (reserving maintenance because of the possible future impact of the parties’ physical disabilities).  Reservation allows the court to assess and address future changes in a party’s circumstances as those changes arise, without prematurely burdening the other party.  See Van De Loo v. Van De Loo, 346 N.W.2d 173, 178 (Minn. App. 1984).

Appellant argues that the district court erroneously reserved maintenance because it did not make specific findings to justify an award of maintenance.  But the district court found that respondent’s “transitory living situation * * * [could] dramatically change for the worse.”  Accordingly, we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in reserving maintenance because respondent may be able to establish her need for maintenance in the future.


4.         Division of Marital Property

Upon a dissolution of a marriage * * * the court shall make a just and equitable division of the marital property of the parties without regard to marital misconduct * * *.

 

Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (1998).

The district court has broad discretion in dividing marital property and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion.  Rutten, 347 N.W.2d at 50.  Appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion in dividing (a) homestead proceeds, (b) stock in Pavey Brothers, Inc., and (c) personal property and marital debts. 

a.         Homestead Proceeds

Appellant argues that he is entitled to a fair division of the homestead proceeds without regard to marital misconduct.  The district court found that the homestead was

sold in an emergency fashion because of a foreclosure action commenced by the lien holder.  [Appellant] consistently failed and refused to pay support and maintenance as required hereunder making it impossible for [respondent] to pay the expenses in connection with the homestead resulting in its eventual loss.  

 

The district court then awarded respondent $36,000, which represents the entire proceeds of the emergency sale.  The district court did not allocate the homestead proceeds based on appellant’s marital misconduct, but considered his financial conduct and his noncompliance with court-ordered maintenance payments (that were earmarked for the home mortgage) and with child support payments.  Moreover, when viewed together with all of the marital assets, the division of the homestead proceeds was just and equitable.  See, e.g., White v. White, 521 N.W.2d 874, 878 (Minn. App. 1994) (district court does not have to make an equal division of marital property but rather a “just and equitable” division.).  Accordingly, we find no abuse of discretion in the division of homestead proceeds.

b.         Stock in Pavey Brothers, Inc.

Appellant argues that the district court overvalued his stock in Pavey Brothers, Inc.  The record shows that (1) in 1991, gross annual sales for Pavey Brothers, Inc. was $400,000; (2) in 1992, an Equifax Real Estate Services report listed the net worth of Pavey Brothers Inc. at $174,000; (3) in 1994, a corporate tax return listed the net worth of Pavey Brothers Inc. at $80,000; and (4) on an insurance document, appellant listed his buy-out interest in the company at $100,000.  The district court concluded that the marital share of the corporation is valued at $100,000.  We see no abuse of discretion in this valuation.

c.         Personal Property and Marital Debts

            Appellant argues that the district court did not make a just and equitable division of the marital property and debts without regard to marital misconduct.  Although the district court refers to appellant’s noncompliance, the record provides ample independent support for the division of personal property and debts.  The district court concluded that

the parties’ valuations of the personal property are extremely polarized. The court is unable to place a reasonable value on the items.  Therefore, the property shall be sold in a commercially reasonable manner.  The proceeds shall then be divided equally between the parties. 

 

Additionally, the district court awarded each party the household goods, furnishings, bank accounts, and cash in his or her possession.[1]  We see no abuse of discretion in the district court’s division of marital personal property and debts.

5.         Trial Court Attorneys Fees 

            An award of attorney fees under Minn. Stat. § 518.14 rests within the discretion of the district court and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion.  Katz v. Katz, 408 N.W.2d 835, 840 (Minn. 1987).  An award of attorney fees is appropriate where one party has unreasonably contributed to the length or expense of the proceeding.  Redmond v. Redmond, 594 N.W.2d 272, 276 (Minn. App. 1999).  Here, the district court found that appellant

unreasonably contributed to the length [and] expense of these proceedings.  The record discloses continued non-compliance with discovery, child support and other obligations.  His conduct has caused delay and greatly increased the cost of these proceedings.  His failure to pay Court-ordered child support and spousal maintenance has diminished the marital estate.

 

Based on these findings, the district court awarded respondent $17,500 in attorney fees.

Appellant does not challenge the district court’s findings of non-compliance with discovery, child support, and other obligations.  Instead, he argues that (1) he is not in a sound financial position to pay his ex-wife’s attorney fees, (2) he is only partially to blame for the delays, and (3) respondent’s attorney fees were discharged in bankruptcy.  But these arguments do not address the fact that he contributed to the length and expense of this case.  See Dabrowski v. Dabrowski, 477 N.W.2d 761, 766 (Minn. App. 1991) (fee awards under Minn. Stat. § 518.14 may be based on the impact a party’s behavior has had on the costs of the litigation regardless of the relative financial resources of the parties.).  Moreover, appellant does not provide any legal analysis in support of these arguments.  Appellate courts may decline to address allegations unsupported by legal analysis or citation.  See, e.g., Ganguli v. University of Minnesota, 512 N.W.2d 918, 919 n.1 (Minn. App. 1994).  We see no abuse of discretion in the district court’s assessment of attorney fees. 

6.         Attorney Fees on Appeal

            On December 14, 1999, respondent filed a motion with this court requesting attorney fees in connection with this appeal.  Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 139.06 prescribes the procedure for seeking attorney fees on appeal: any motion for fees must be accompanied by “sufficient documentation to enable the appellate court to determine the appropriate amount of fees.”  Respondent’s motion lacks sufficient documentation to enable us to consider an award.  Accordingly, her motion for attorney fees is denied. 

Affirmed; motion denied.

 



* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

[1] Appellant also argues that he should not be responsible for one-half of respondent’s student loan.  But he has not been made responsible for this—a careful reading of the district court’s conclusions of law reveals that “respondent shall be solely responsible to pay for her student loans incurred during the term of the marriage.”