This opinion will be unpublished and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

C3-01-704

 

Barbara J. Luoma, petitioner,

Respondent,

 

vs.

 

Randy E. Luoma,

Appellant.

 

Filed September 18, 2001

Affirmed

Hanson, Judge

 

Hennepin County District Court

File No. DC246652

 

John A. Mack, Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., 1500 Wells Fargo Plaza, 7900 Xerxes Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55431 (for respondent)

 

Ellen E. Tholen, 525 East Itasca Street, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 (for appellant) 

 

            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Hanson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N

HANSON, Judge


On appeal after remand in this marital-dissolution proceeding, appellant-husband challenges the district court’s division of marital property, arguing that it was an abuse of discretion to allocate a larger portion of the marital debt to appellant.  We affirm.

 

FACTS

Respondent wife, Barbara Luoma, petitioned for dissolution of her 20-year marriage to appellant husband, Randy Luoma.  The issues for trial were limited to property valuation and division.

In an earlier judgment, the district court found that husband dissipated[1] assets prior to separation and that he failed to prove that he spent those assets on the necessities of life.  The district court relied on these findings to make an unequal division of property that favored wife.  This court reversed and remanded, holding that the district court had misapplied Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1a.  We directed the district court to determine (a) whether the alleged dissipated assets were “spent in contemplation of or during dissolution or separation” and, if so, (b) whether wife had proven that husband's expenditures were not for the “necessities of life.”

            On remand, the district court withdrew its finding of dissipation under Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1a, because wife failed to prove husband spent the disputed assets in contemplation of dissolution.  After eliminating the alleged dissipated assets, the court re-examined the distribution of marital assets and assignment of marital debts under Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (2000).  Unlike subdivision 1a, subdivision 1 does not require a
finding of “dissipation,” but instead authorizes the court to “make a just and equitable division of the marital property of the parties * * * .”

            On the division of marital assets, the district court noted that the only asset available for distribution, other than the several vehicles owned by each party, was wife’s Thrift Savings Plan through her employer, valued at $75,000.  The court awarded wife $45,000 and husband $30,000 of that plan, with the result that husband received assets valued at $74,730 and wife received assets valued at $75,805.  The court then recalculated the debt division, assigning $5,657.31 to wife and $34,100.59 to husband.  The court explained that although this assignment of marital debt was similar to that based on the now withdrawn finding of dissipation, it was still reasonable because, while wife had continued working and was preserving the marital assets, husband had quit working and was using debt to fund his activities.  Husband appeals.

D E C I S I O N

The district court has broad discretion with respect to the division of property.  Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984).  “This court on review must affirm the trial court’s division of property if it had an acceptable basis in fact and principle even though this court may have taken a different approach.”  Servin v. Servin, 345 N.W.2d 754, 758 (Minn. 1984) (citations omitted).

I

Husband continues to argue that the district court abused its discretion by finding that he “dissipated” the parties’ marital assets.  This argument is misplaced because the district court no longer found that husband “dissipated” assets; in fact the district court completely withdrew its findings of “dissipation” under Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1a (2000).  Instead the court proceeded to make the property division under the broader “just and equitable” standard of subdivision 1, which authorizes the court to “also consider the contribution of each in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property * * * .”  Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (2000).  The district court now found that, while both parties contributed equally to the acquisition of the parties’ assets, wife preserved her Thrift Savings Plan, while husband spent his.  The court explained that husband replaced the marital asset of his Thrift Savings Plan, which had a value of $38,291.09, with a Dodge truck that immediately depreciated in value to $25,420; husband substantially encumbered the marital asset when he gave a lien on the truck to his new significant other, after borrowing $16,000 from her; and there was no evidence that wife consented to the encumbrance or received any benefit from it. 

Husband argues that the district court erred in finding that only the wife contributed to the preservation of marital assets, contending that the court should have “conclusively presumed” that the parties’ contribution to the preservation of assets was equal.  Husband misreads Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1, which requires a conclusive presumption that both parties contributed substantially to the acquisition, but not to the preservation of marital property.  See Letsch v. Letsch, 409 N.W.2d 239 (Minn. App. 1987) (determining that the evidence supported district court’s finding that husband contributed significantly to poor physical condition of parties’ homestead, while wife sought to maintain parties’ homestead in good condition, justifying unequal property division in wife’s favor). 

We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in the division of marital assets.

II

Husband argues that the district court abused its discretion by assigning the entire debt for the $16,000 lien on husband’s truck to husband.  But the evidence shows that husband incurred the debt after the parties’ separation, which caused a further reduction in marital property without wife’s consent.  The district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the assignment of the $16,000 debt to husband was just and equitable, within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1.

The district court also assigned to husband the debt for his obligation to refund worker’s compensation benefits.  Because husband did not raise this issue on appeal from the district court’s original judgment, assigning the worker’s compensation debt to husband, he is precluded from raising it now.  See Dieseth v. Calder Mfg. Co., 275 Minn. 365, 370, 147 N.W.2d 100, 103 (1966) (stating “[e]ven though the decision of the trial court in the first order may have been wrong, if it is an appealable order it is still final after the time for appeal has expired”).

We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in the assignment of marital debt.


Affirmed.



[1] “Dissipation” is a term associated with pre-1991 caselaw.  In 1991, Minn. Stat. § 518.58 was amended to include subd. 1a (Supp. 1991), which does not use the term “dissipation,” but refers to the “[t]ransfer, encumbrance, concealment, or disposition of marital assets.”  1991 Minn. Laws ch. 266, § 5; See Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1a (2000).