This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
J. Gerald Levey, petitioner,
Rita S. Levey,
Hennepin County District Court
File No. DC123123
Robert J. Hajek, Warchol, Berndt & Hajek, P.A., Suite 110, 3433 Broadway Street Northeast, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (for appellant)
Michael Ormond, Ormond Law Offices, 300 Sexton Building, 529 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Foley, Judge,* and Huspeni, Judge.
Appellant J. Gerald Levey and respondent Rita S. Levey dissolved their 31-year marriage in 1989. Throughout the marriage, appellant enjoyed considerable success in the insurance business and respondent engaged in traditional homemaking responsibilities, including caring for the parties’ two children. At the time of dissolution, the parties were each 56 years old; they are now 68.
In the dissolution decree, appellant’s gross annual income was determined to be $233,000 and respondent’s annual earning capacity was determined to be $12,000. The decree incorporated terms of the parties’ stipulation, providing for permanent monthly spousal maintenance of $4,000; for payment of an additional $80,000 in installments over a period of five years; for maintenance to continue until the death of either party, or the remarriage of respondent; for appellant to retain “his right to seek a decrease in spousal maintenance under applicable statutes”; and for respondent to waive “for all time any claim to an increase in spousal maintenance except [cost of living increases].”
The dissolution decree provided for an approximately equal distribution of the marital property, and awarded appellant as his property (1) one-half of his monthly pension benefit receivable from American International Life Assurance Company of New York, (2) one-half interest in the St. Paul Companies’ Employee’s Retirement Plan, if and when the pension became payable, (3) one-half interest in his vested 401(k) plan at St. Paul Companies; one-half interest in his unvested 401(k) benefits, and (4) his Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Accordingly, respondent was awarded as her property the remaining interests in the above-mentioned plans.
In 1993, appellant moved to suspend or reduce his maintenance obligation based on his decreased income and increased expenses. After filing the motion papers, but prior to the hearing date, appellant was terminated from his employment. The district court found that appellant’s gross monthly income was $13,500 (as compared to a gross monthly income of $19,500 at the time of the dissolution), that appellant’s decreased income constituted a substantial change in circumstances, and reduced appellant’s monthly maintenance obligation to $2,000. The court further ordered that this reduction
is effective from June 1, 1994 and will continue until such time as there is a change in [appellant’s] unemployment status, or until such time as [appellant] elects to take retirement benefits. The court at that time will re-examine the amount of income available to pay spousal maintenance and will determine the appropriateness of maintenance increases.
In 1999, respondent, alleging appellant’s earnings had increased, moved to restore her maintenance award to the originally stipulated $4,000. The district court found that appellant’s 1999 annual net income was $199,511 and that respondent’s gross monthly income was $3,025.31. The court concluded that the current maintenance award was unreasonable and unfair in that it “contravenes the agreement the parties reached at the time of the dissolution,” and increased maintenance to the originally stipulated $4,000 per month. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Reversed and remanded.
* Retired judges of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.