This opinion will be unpublished and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
Glenn A. Mattson, petitioner,
Beverly A. Mattson,
Filed December 5, 2000
Daniel R. Trost, Schreiber & Jarstad, 104 South Washington, Lake City, MN 55041 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Beverly A. Mattson (wife) appeals from the district court's reservation of permanent spousal maintenance. We affirm.
In 1996, the district court dissolved the marriage of wife and respondent Glenn A. Mattson (husband), granting joint physical custody of their one minor child. The court set husband's child support obligation at $172.81 per month on the theory that the child would spend half of her time with each parent. Husband's permanent spousal maintenance obligation was set at $225 per month.
In 1998, wife moved for child support modification on the ground that the minor child was now living with her most of the time. Husband moved for termination or, in the alternative, reservation of spousal maintenance. The district court increased husband's child support payment to $486.09 per month and reserved spousal maintenance.
On appeal, this court affirmed the increased child support but reversed and remanded the spousal maintenance reservation, stating that the record and the district court's findings did not support the conclusion that there had been a substantial change in circumstances to warrant reserving maintenance. Mattson v. Mattson, No. C1‑99‑196 (Minn. App. July 27, 1999).
On remand, the district court found that wife's earnings had increased substantially and that husband's expenses increased substantially. The district court concluded that husband lacked sufficient income to meet his needs, whereas wife's earnings and support were sufficient to meet her needs, the child's needs, and maintain the standard of living established during marriage. The district court again reserved the award of permanent spousal maintenance. Wife appeals.
1. Wife argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the district court's findings concerning her expenses and husband's income and expenses. Findings of fact are upheld unless clearly erroneous. Gessner v. Gessner, 487 N.W.2d 921, 923 (Minn. App. 1992). A finding is "clearly erroneous" if the reviewing court is "'left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.'" Vangsness v. Vangsness, 607 N.W.2d 468, 472 (Minn. App. 2000) (citations omitted).
Wife argues that the district court's finding that as of November 18, 1998, husband's net monthly income was $2,860 is unsupported by the evidence. The finding is consistent with the district court's prior finding in a December 22, 1998 order. In that order, the district court based the $2,860 figure on a finding that husband's gross monthly income was $4,864.16. Wife correctly notes that a pay stub in the record indicates that husband's gross monthly income as of November 1998 was more than he stated in a November 1998 affidavit. But she fails to acknowledge that the pay stub is in the record because it was submitted to the district court by husband's counsel in a December 4, 1998 letter advising the court of a recent pay raise. The $4,864 figure used by the district court in the December 22, 1998 order reflected husband's pay raise. There was no error by the district court because it based its findings on the later pay stub.
Wife also argues that the district court's findings that as of November 18, 1998, her monthly expenses were $2,260 and husband's monthly expenses were $2,462 are unsupported by the record. Husband submitted an attachment to an affidavit listing $2,830 in monthly living expenses. Wife subsequently submitted an affidavit claiming $2,830 in monthly living expenses. The district court explained that in determining reasonable and necessary living monthly expenses for each party it deducted claimed expenses attributable to consumer debt (such as credit cards, attorney fees, and furniture payment) for lack of supporting documentation. Despite wife's claim that the district court's findings are unsupported, the evidence in the record does not establish that the disputed findings of fact are clearly erroneous.
2. Wife argues that the district court's findings do not support reserving permanent spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance determinations fall within the district court's broad discretion and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion. Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). The district court's conclusion must be against logic and the facts on the record before the reviewing court will find an abuse of discretion. Id.
Modification of maintenance is appropriate upon a showing of one or more of the following:
(1) substantially increased or decreased earnings of a party; (2) substantially increased or decreased need of a party * * *; (3) receipt of [public] assistance * * *; (4) a change in the cost of living for either party * * * which makes the terms unreasonable and unfair * * *.
Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(a) (1998). Here, the district court determined that wife's earnings had substantially increased and that husband had substantially increased unmet needs. The district court's findings support its determination of a change in circumstance.
Wife faults the district court for not specifically addressing the requirement that the change make the original order unreasonable and unfair. The district court found, however, that husband's monthly expenses exceed his net income, leaving him with a monthly deficit, and that wife's net income exceeds her monthly expenses. These findings readily support the district court's reservation of spousal maintenance at this time. There was no abuse of discretion.