This opinion will be unpublished and may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
In Re the Marriage of:
Carol Jean Bailey, petitioner,
Willis LeRoy Bailey,
Mower County District Court
File No. F699334
Scott Richardson, Richardson Law Office, 132 Third Avenue Northwest, Austin, MN 55912 (for respondent)
Fred W. Wellmann, Hoversten, Johnson, Beckmann, Wellmann & Hovey, LLP, 807 West Oakland Avenue, Austin, MN 55912 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Foley, Judge.*
On appeal from a marital-dissolution judgment, Willis Bailey challenges the district court’s permanent-maintenance award and its valuation of his checking account and the parties’ credit-card debt. The district court did not abuse its discretion in deciding the valuation issue Willis Bailey preserved for appeal, and the adjudicated maintenance amount and duration comport with the facts and the law. We affirm.
In August 1999, the district court entered judgment dissolving Willis and Carol Bailey’s 35-year marriage. The court awarded Carol Bailey permanent maintenance and divided the marital property equally between the parties.
In calculating the property division, the court valued Willis Bailey’s checking account at $7,700 and the parties’ credit-card debt at $21,000, using different valuation dates for each. The court made no finding on which valuation date it used in valuing the checking account, but it apparently relied on Carol Bailey’s testimony that, when she moved out of the parties’ home in November 1998, the balance on the account was $7,700.
In valuing the credit-card debt, the court used the statutory valuation date and found that the parties’ debt on the date of the May 1999 prehearing conference was $20,955.48. In a March 1999 affidavit, Carol Bailey estimated the debt to be about $16,000. Willis Bailey objected to Carol Bailey’s testimony evaluating the debt, and the court continued the case after ordering Carol Bailey to produce the credit-card records for the past five years. These records showed that the amount of the debt on the date of the May prehearing conference was $20,955.48.
The court awarded Carol Bailey permanent maintenance on a finding that she was employed to her full potential and lacked the education and skills necessary to increase her earning capacity substantially. Carol Bailey is a 54-year-old high-school graduate who has no post-high-school education or special training. She worked as a cook for a significant portion of the marriage and then worked for 11 years at Hardee’s, a fast food restaurant, where she is currently kitchen manager and trainer. Her hourly wage is $6.30, and she works an average of 35 hours per week. Her net monthly income is $850, and her reasonable monthly expenses are $1,150. Her past employment history does not indicate a substantially greater earning capacity.
Willis Bailey is 57 years old and works full-time as a carpenter at Joseph Company. His hourly wage is $16.50 and his net monthly income is $1,915. His reasonable monthly expenses are $1,287. Willis Bailey is in good health and capable of continued employment.
This appeal followed entry of judgment.
Willis Bailey first challenges the district court’s valuation of his checking account and the parties’ credit-card debt, claiming, among other things, that the district court abused its discretion by not using a single valuation date. A district court has broad discretion in the valuation of marital property. Berenberg v. Berenberg, 474 N.W.2d 843, 847 (Minn. App. 1991), review denied (Minn. Nov. 13, 1991). The value assigned to an asset is a finding of fact, which we will not overturn unless it is clearly erroneous. Hertz v. Hertz, 304 Minn. 144, 145, 229 N.W.2d 42, 44 (1975); see Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. Because in many cases valuation is necessarily an approximation, this court will not reverse valuations that lie within a reasonable range of figures. Hertz, 304 Minn. at 145, 229 N.W.2d at 44.
Minnesota law requires district courts to value marital assets for property-division purposes as of the date of the prehearing settlement conference, unless the parties agree to a different date or the court makes specific findings that another valuation date is fair. Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (1998). The clear language of the statute notwithstanding, Willis Bailey first argues the court abused its discretion in valuing the parties’ credit-card debt on the date of the prehearing settlement conference. He claims the court should have accepted Carol Bailey’s March 1999 valuation instead. But in the proceedings in the district court, Willis Bailey objected to Carol Bailey’s testimony estimating the debt’s value, requested that credit-card records be produced, and agreed to a continuance until the records could be produced. In light of the district court proceedings and because the law requires the district courts to value marital assets as of the date of the prehearing settlement conference, the court was entirely within the bounds of its broad discretion in valuing the credit-card debt as of that date.
Willis Bailey also argues the district court abused its discretion in treating the credit-card debt as marital property. But the record supports the district court’s finding that Carol Bailey incurred the debt primarily for household items that benefited the family, even though Willis Bailey was not aware of the debt. The credit-card summaries show that the vast majority of charges were made at household-goods stores such as Target, ShopKo, Wal-Mart, and Kmart. The court therefore did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the debt was marital property.
Finally, Willis Bailey argues that the $5,000 difference in the debt’s value between March 1999 and the prehearing settlement conference is nonmarital debt incurred for personal expenses. The record, however, contains no evidence that the difference in the debt’s value was $5,000. The record reflects only that the debt was almost $21,000 in May and that Carol Bailey valued it at $16,000 in March. The precise amount of the debt in March cannot be determined because the record does not contain Visa Gold’s March 1999 statement. The only evidence on the value of the debt in March was Carol Bailey’s testimony that in the 12 months preceding trial, she charged only $1,800. Thus, the inescapable inference is that Carol Bailey undervalued the debt in her March 1999 affidavit. Willis Bailey’s argument lacks evidentiary support. See Wopata v. Wopata, 498 N.W.2d 478, 485 (Minn. App. 1993) (reversing trial court’s valuation of lawnmower and investment account for lack of evidentiary support).
Willis Bailey next challenges the court’s valuation of his checking account, claiming the court abused its discretion in not using a single valuation debt to value the checking account and the credit-card debt. The district court did not indicate which date it used in valuing the checking account. Carol Bailey testified that the account value when she moved out in November 1998 was $7,700. The account balance on the date of the prehearing conference was $5,875.05. The average balance on the account between December 1998 and May 1999 was approximately $7,400. In the proceedings in the district court, Willis Bailey did not dispute Carol Bailey’s valuation of the checking account at $7,700. After Carol Bailey testified to her estimated valuations, Willis Bailey presented testimony on the valuations he disputed.
When a valuation is not disputed in the district court, we decline to consider the claim on appeal. See Sanborn v. Sanborn, 503 N.W.2d 499, 504 (Minn. App. 1993) (stating issues not raised before the trial court will not be addressed on review), review denied (Minn. Sept. 21, 1993); Vinnes v. Vinnes, 384 N.W.2d 589, 591 (Minn. App. 1986) (refusing to consider on appeal property claim not raised before the trial court); Moon v. Moon, 378 N.W.2d 49, 54 (Minn. App. 1985) (stating claim not raised at trial or in posttrial motions could not be raised on appeal absent showing of an injustice or an infringement of a constitutional right). Willis Bailey did not indicate disagreement with the $7,700 valuation and similarly failed to raise the issue in the 22 points listed in his written final argument. We therefore decline to consider his claim on appeal. For the same reason, we do not consider Willis Bailey’s claim, raised for the first time at oral argument, that the district court improperly valued his pension account.
Willis Bailey challenges the district court’s permanent maintenance award, claiming that Carol Bailey was underemployed in bad faith and that the district court failed to consider the relevant statutory factors. We disagree.
On appeal from a permanent spousal-maintenance award, the reviewing court must determine whether the district court abused its discretion. Carrick v. Carrick, 560 N.W.2d 407, 409-10 (Minn. App. 1997). A trial court abuses its discretion if its conclusions are clearly erroneous. Dobrin v. Dobrin, 569 N.W.2d 199, 202 (Minn. 1997). A conclusion is clearly erroneous if it is unsupported by logic or the facts on record. Id.
A court may award maintenance to either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance (a) lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs considering the standard of living established during the marriage, or (b) is unable to provide adequate self-support through appropriate employment considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances. Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 1 (1998). In determining maintenance, the court is required to consider statutory factors relevant to amount and duration. Id., subd. 2 (listing eight factors). Each case must be decided on its own facts, and no single statutory factor is dispositive. Erlandson v. Erlandson, 318 N.W.2d 36, 39 (Minn. 1982).
Willis Bailey’s claim that Carol Bailey is underemployed ignores established precedent providing that “[a]s a matter of law, * * * a court may not find bad faith underemployment where * * * a homemaker has continued to work the same part-time hours at the time of the dissolution as she did during the marriage, * * * and * * * there is no evidence of any intent to reduce income for the purposes of obtaining maintenance.” Carrick, 560 N.W.2d at 410.
We also find no merit in Willis Bailey’s claim that the district court failed to consider the relevant statutory factors in awarding Carol Bailey $400 a month in permanent maintenance. The district court addressed the relevant statutory factors, including the duration of the marriage, the parties’ modest standard of living, their education and skills, and their relative income and needs. The court found that Carol Bailey was currently employed to her full potential and lacked the education and skills necessary to increase her earning capacity substantially in the future. It also found that Willis Bailey earned $628 more than he needed to meet his reasonable monthly expenses and was therefore in a position to pay spousal maintenance. The record supports the court’s findings. On those findings, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion in awarding Carol Bailey $400 in permanent spousal maintenance.
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.