This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






In re the Marriage of:

John M. Brookman, petitioner,


Blyth J. Berg Brookman,



Filed August 1, 2000


Crippen, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. DC227029



Ronald B. Sieloff, Sieloff and Associates, P.A., Suite 214 Yankee Square Office III, 3460 Washington Drive, Eagan, MN 55122 (for appellant)


Denis E. Grande, Joanne H. Turner, Mackall, Crounse & Moore, PLC, 1400 AT&T Tower, 901 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)


††††††††††† Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D†† O P I N I O N


††††††††††† Appellant John Brookman submits 11 assertions of trial court error in the courtís judgment and subsequent denial of a motion for a new trial.† As nothing in the record has been identified to suggest the occurrence of these errors, we affirm.



††††††††††† The parties were married in 1974, separated in 1995, and divorced in 1996.† Appellantís assertions of error go to the trial courtís award of spousal maintenance, its valuation of assets, its allocation of the partiesí debts, and its provision for temporary continuance of the private-school education of the partiesí oldest child.



1.†††††††† Appellant disputes the trial courtís valuation of two items, the homestead of the parties, awarded to respondent Blyth Brookman, and a joint Everen stock account, the major part of which was awarded to appellant.† In both instances, the value stated in the decree coincides with an announcement on the record that the parties had arrived at a stipulation on those values, followed by the courtís specific restatement of the stipulated values and the courtís concluding announcement that the stipulation narrowed the dispute of the parties and made the disposition of the case easier for the parties.

††††††††††† Appellant points out that the stipulation was announced by respondent and not confirmed on the record by appellantís counsel.† But it is evident that counsel for appellant was present to witness both the announcement and the courtís acceptance of the stipulation and offered no correction, proceeding instead to take the initiative of calling appellantís next witness.† The two valuations are supported by a stipulation of the parties.

2.†††††††† Appellant suggests that the court erred in providing that he pay a margin loan on the Everen Securities account when the court, in another finding, had suggested that each party be responsible for one-half of this loan.† It is evident that the trial courtís equal division of marital assets, including this debt, renders inconsequential the fact that appellant was to pay the entire debt.† Appellant also disputes a court conclusion that he should pay a $6,200 credit union debt that was not included in the trial courtís list of equal allocations of marital property for each party.† But the judgment shows that the court divided more than† $1 million in marital property and that the courtís listing of the allocation of marital property favored appellant by more than $10,000.† The allocation of the $6,200 is insubstantial in the context of the total marital estate and less significant in light of the division stated by the trial court.

3.†††††††† Appellant asserts that the trial court, in determining the maintenance and child support obligations, made findings on the partiesí gross incomes but not their net incomes.† But implicit in the trial courtís finding that appellant grossed $171,000 and respondent grossed $60,000 annually is a discussion about the partiesí net monthly incomes.† It can be deduced that the court found that appellant had a net income of $13,027.50 monthly and respondent had a net income of $1,969.50 a month.† It is our observation that the trial court recites an unusually high net income for appellant relative to his gross income, and an unusually low net income for respondent relative to her gross income, but appellant has identified nothing in the record to support a claim of an error in the trial courtís statements on net income.† Appellant also asserts that respondentís gross income is understated in the trial courtís order but, again, points to nothing in the record to indicate error.[1]

††††††††††† Appellant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in attributing to him reasonable monthly expenses of ďabout $5,300,Ē appellant suggesting he should have been permitted a home-purchase allowance of an additional $3,238.94 a month.† But we are directed to nothing in the record showing that the trial courtís finding on appellantís needs excludes housing costs or is otherwise in error.

4.†††††††† Appellant contends that the trial court had ďno statutory authorityĒ to order his payment of a portion of the private-school tuition costs of the partiesí eldest child until the child transfers to a mutually agreed-upon public school, or to order him to pay the childrenís private-school tuition or suffer the loss of a tax deduction if he failed to do so.† This contention is accompanied by no references to statutory law or any contention that the award falls outside the trial courtís discretionary authority to justify and properly provide for the support of the partiesí children.† See Minn. Stat. ßß 518.17, subd. 3(a)(3), 518.54, subd. 4, and 518.551, subd. 5(c) (1998).

5.†††††††† Appellant contends respondent is entitled to no award of spousal maintenance, which the trial court ordered for a period of 11 years preceding appellantís mandatory retirement.† Appellant points out that respondent is less than 50 years of age and contends that she is self-sufficient because of her ďextensive and lucrative employment history.Ē† Although he makes these assertions, nothing in the record is identified to suggest any error of the court in its finding that respondent and the minor children have monthly needs of $8,500 and that she must have both the maintenance award of $4,500 and the child-support award of $1,780.50 to provide, together with her earnings, $8,250 a month.† In light of the trial courtís findings, we can find no abuse of discretion in the maintenance order.

6.†††††††† Finally, respondent disputes the trial courtís order that he secure his maintenance and child-support payments with life insurance, reiterating that respondent can provide for her own sustenance.† Given the trial courtís findings of fact, not successfully challenged, we can find no abuse of discretion.† See Minn. Stat. ß 518.24 (1998) (allowing trial court to order security for maintenance obligations); Walker v. Walker, 553 N.W.2d 90, 96 (Minn. App. 1996) (it is within the trial courtís discretion, when it awards maintenance, to require that the maintenance be secured with life insurance).



[1] Although respondent is awarded more than a half a million dollars in property, among the included items are a homestead valued at $360,000 and several retirement accounts totaling approximately $150,000.† Neither of these investments produces income for respondent.