This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C5-00-1794

 

In Re the Marriage of:

 

Lucinda M. Washenesky,

f/d/a Lucinda M. Henschel, petitioner,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

Mark E. Henschel,

Appellant.

 

Filed May 22, 2001

Affirmed

Harten, Judge

 

Carlton County District Court

File No. F8-99-799

 

Cynthia M. Stange, Attorney at Law, 2803 Lincoln Drive, Suite 300, Roseville, MN 55113 (for appellant)

 

Lucinda M. Washenesky, P.O. Box 82, Wrenshall, MN 55797-0081 (respondent pro se)

 

            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

HARTEN, Judge

            Appellant challenges the district court’s division of the parties’ property.  Because we see no abuse of discretion, we affirm.  

FACTS

           

            Appellant Mark Henschel and respondent Lucinda Washenesky were married from 1992 until 1999.  At the time of the marriage, appellant owned a home in Cloquet and respondent owned a parcel of rural property and a trailer.  Each party’s name was added to the other party’s deed.  Appellant’s home and respondent’s trailer were sold, and the parties began to construct a new home on respondent’s land.  In 1993, appellant was involved in a work-related injury for which he received a lump-sum workers’ compensation settlement.

In 1999, the parties’ marriage was dissolved by a partially stipulated judgment.  The parties tried three reserved issues, to-wit:  their nonmarital interests in the homestead, the distribution of appellant’s workers’ compensation settlement, and the distribution of miscellaneous items of personal property.  Following the trial, the district court awarded respondent the homestead and found that she owed appellant $18,635.

Appellant moved for a new trial or for amended findings on numerous items.   The district court denied the motion except for amending one finding by deleting an item that had been included twice and changing respondent’s total indebtedness to $20,885.  Appellant contends that respondent owes him $54,317 and challenges the partial denial of his motion to amend the findings of fact.[1]

D E C I S I O N

 

Standard of Review

 

The district court has broad discretion with respect to the division of property.  For this court to conclude that this discretion was abused, the findings must be against logic and the facts in the record.  Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). Appellant challenges the district court’s findings on several items.[2]

1.         Homestead

 

The district court found that, of the parties’ $64,400 equity in the homestead, $16,867 was marital property, appellant’s nonmarital share was $13,355, and respondent’s nonmarital share was $34,178.  Appellant contends that $40,900 is marital property, his nonmarital share is $10,000, and respondent’s nonmarital share is $13,500.[3]  He challenges the district court’s findings as to the value of respondent’s property on which the homestead was built and as to the parties’ contributions of funds from the sale of nonmarital property, i.e. respondent’s trailer and appellant’s house. 

a.         Land Value

Appellant challenges the finding that respondent’s land, a nonmarital contribution, was worth $27,500.  Appellant argues that at the time of the parties’ marriage, respondent’s property was worth only $13,500; the other $14,000 was due to improvements made during the marriage.  But the appraiser testified that the value of the property in 1992 was essentially the same as in 1999, and the district court found the appraisal “to be the most reliable testimony” on the property’s value.  There was no contradictory evidence.

b.         Nonmarital Contributions

Of the remaining $36,900 ($64,400 – $27,500), the district court found from construction receipts that $20,033 was the parties’ nonmarital contribution.[4]  The district court determined that the parties had contributed on a two-to-one basis because $9,000 from the sale of respondent’s trailer and $18,000 net profit from the sale of appellant’s home had been put into the homestead.  Based on this percentage, appellant’s nonmarital share was set at $13,355 and respondent’s at $6,678 (in addition to her $27,500 property contribution.)

Appellant now contends that the $9,000 from the sale of respondent’s trailer was not used for the construction of the parties’ homestead.  Appellant, however, testified on cross-examination that he didn’t know where the $9,000 went and, on direct examination, answered in the affirmative when asked if it was accurate that the money went into the family finances from which assets for the house were taken.  Respondent testified that she did not remember exactly where the money went, but answered in the affirmative when asked if it was used for daily expenses or became part of the parties’ assets.  Therefore, the court’s finding that respondent contributed one-third of the nonmarital portion has support in the record.       

2.         The Dodge Ram

The district court found that the Dodge Ram pickup truck awarded to appellant was marital property.  Although appellant argues on appeal that it is nonmarital property, his testimony supports the district court’s finding.  Appellant was asked how he was able to pay cash for the pickup.  He testified to two sources for the cash: 

Well, we took ten thousand out of the life insurance policy that was under [respondent’s] name, and then we had a substantial amount of money * * * from a job that I just worked in Michigan for six weeks.  And we took, I think it was, $8,000 * * *, or maybe $10,000 out of there, and used it to buy the truck and pay the sales tax and all that.

 

Appellant now claims the life insurance policy was his nonmarital property because funds from the sale of his house were used to purchase policies for both parties.  But when he was asked about his house and respondent’s land, he testified, “They were both marital properties.”[5]

The funds appellant earned during the marriage from the job in Michigan would undoubtedly have been marital property.  Now, however, appellant claims the Dodge Ram was purchased not with money he earned during the marriage but with money from the sale of a Corvette he owned before the marriage.  (It is undisputed that the $1,600 still owed on the Corvette was paid from marital funds.)  But when appellant was asked what had happened to the Corvette, he testified, “Corvette got sold.  And the money eventually got used in the house.”  Therefore, appellant’s own testimony undercuts his argument that the Dodge Ram is his nonmarital property.

3.         The Workers’ Compensation Settlement

            Appellant received $51,700 for a back injury received on his job during the marriage; this was deposited into a Solomon Smith Barney account.  The district court found that the account was worth $60,000, of which $6,000 was a marital asset and $54,000 was appellant’s nonmarital asset.  Appellant contends on appeal that the account is worth only $49,434 and that all of it is his nonmarital property.  However, appellant’s testimony supports the district court’s findings. 

When he was asked during cross-examination at trial in March 2000 what the account was then worth, appellant answered, “I’m not sure.  Sixty-some thousand.”  Therefore, the district court’s finding that it was worth $60,000 is supported.[6]

The finding that part of the settlement covered an employment claim is also supported.  Appellant testified that one reason he received the settlement was that he “had to resign and never try to apply for a job with the [employer] again.”  The attorney who represented appellant during the settlement said in his deposition that there was no allocation of the settlement, i.e., it was a lump-sum settlement of all appellant’s claims, and no particular amount was assigned to any particular claim.  Appellant offers no evidence opposing the district court’s determination that ten percent of the settlement was marital property.  That determination was not an abuse of discretion.

4.         Backhoe

The appraiser valued the backhoe awarded to appellant at $9,500; the district court valued it at $10,000.  Appellant testified that he placed the backhoe for sale and was “trying to get as high as fourteen or fifteen” for it; he told prospective buyers “fourteen or fifteen or best offer.”  There is support for the district court’s valuation of the backhoe at $10,000.  Moreover, an appellate court does not require the district court to be exact in its valuation of assets; the valuation need only lie within a reasonable range.  Johnson v. Johnson, 277 N.W.2d 208, 211 (Minn. 1979).  The district court’s $10,000 is within a reasonable range of the appraiser’s $9,500.

5.         The Bedroom Set

After the separation, appellant entered the homestead and removed a bedroom set, purchased by respondent during the marriage, which the district court subsequently credited to him as a marital asset worth $3,100.[7]  Appellant challenges both the valuation of the bedroom set and its characterization as his marital asset.

Appellant testified that he sold the bedroom set to his sister for $2,000; respondent, however, testified that she thought it was worth $3,100, that she had paid $3,200 for it, and that a replacement set would cost $6,000.  There was support for the district court’s $3,100 valuation.

Appellant also argues that he had sold the bedroom set long before the parties’ assets were valued, that he converted it to items necessary for living in his new residence, and that those items were valued as part of his personal property.  But appellant testified that he actually spent $3,400 for the items and that the appraiser missed many items of his property.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the bedroom set was appellant’s marital asset.

6.         Bank Accounts

The district court found that the amounts appellant withdrew from the parties’ three joint bank accounts were marital property and credited them to appellant’s share.  Appellant claims that the accounts did not exist at the time of the dissolution.  However, his testimony on cross-examination supports the district court’s findings.  When he was asked, “Well, is it a fair statement that basically what you did before telling [respondent] you wanted a dissolution is you went out and took these funds out of these accounts?” he answered, “Yes.  To pay bills.”  Appellant agreed when asked, “[Y]ou ended up taking money out of [one] account * * * of about $7,900 * * *; isn’t that right?”  Appellant said he believed he had taken about $1,000 from a second account, and said he remembered taking some, but not how much, from the third account.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the amounts appellant had withdrawn were marital property.

            Finally, appellant claims that respondent has hidden assets and misrepresented various matters.  Appellant offers no evidence to support these claims.  Moreover, these claims werealso raised when appellant moved for a new trial.  As the district court noted in the memorandum accompanying its order denying that motion,

both parties had claimed that the other had property that had not been appraised.  The Court further found that all claims of both parties involved nominal values which would have little or no effect on the equitable nature of the property division.

           

The district court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the parties’ property.

Affirmed.



[1] Appellant also seeks attorney fees on appeal, but in the absence of a motion as required by Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 139.06, we do not address attorney fees.

[2] We note that in several instances, appellant’s arguments on appeal run counter to his testimony to the district court.  We may not address arguments not previously raised to the district court.  Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988).  Moreover, our decision is controlled by the record that was before the district court.

[3] Thus, the district court actually found that appellant’s nonmarital share in the homestead was more than appellant claims, but appellant rejects the district court’s method of calculation.

[4] The remaining $16,867 was marital property awarded to respondent.

[5] Appellant also challenges the district court’s finding that the amounts remaining in the life insurance policies were marital property, claiming that because his house was nonmarital, and policies were purchased with funds from the house, those amounts were his nonmarital property.  This argument also is refuted by appellant’s testimony that the court should consider his house as marital property.

[6] Appellant now claims that “better evidence” is an exhibit submitted to the district court showing that in September 1999 the account was worth $49,434, but the district court, writing in April 2000, did not clearly abuse its discretion by relying on one-month-old testimony rather than seven-month-old documentary evidence.

[7] Appellant also removed and sold an old computer, but it was valued at only $100, which does not appear to be disputed.