This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Stephanie Gay Tismer-Nord, petitioner,
Mark Steven Nord,
Filed February 4, 2003
Washington County District Court
File No. F0004033
Kathryn A. Graves, Katz, Manka, Teplinsky, Due & Sobol, Ltd., 4150 U.S. Bank Place, 601 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Barry V. Voss, Voss and Hickman, P.A., Suite 2355, 527 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
In this appeal from a dissolution judgment, appellant Mark Nord argues that the homestead valuation was not supported by the evidence and that the district court’s award to respondent Stephanie Tismer-Nord of the homestead as her share of marital property was thus an abuse of discretion. Because the evidence at trial provided a reasonable basis for the district court’s valuation, the court’s division of the marital assets was equitable. We therefore affirm.
“On appeal from a judgment where there has been no motion for new trial, the only questions for review are whether the evidence sustains the findings of fact and whether such findings sustain the conclusions of law and the judgment.” Erickson v. Erickson, 434 N.W.2d 284, 286 (Minn. App. 1989) (citation omitted).
The district court has broad discretion in making divisions of marital property in a dissolution action. Maurer v. Maurer, 623 N.W.2d 604, 606 (Minn. 2001). The reviewing court will not set aside a finding of fact unless it is clearly erroneous, based on the record as a whole. Id. Valuation of an asset is a finding of fact, which is “necessarily an approximation in many cases.” Id. (quotation omitted). The district court’s valuation of an asset thus must merely fall “within a reasonable range of figures.” Id. (quotation omitted). “Exactitude is not required of the trial court in the valuation of assets in a dissolution proceeding[.]” Johnson v. Johnson, 277 N.W.2d 208, 211 (Minn. 1979) (citation omitted). Reversal is required only where the district court’s findings are erroneous based on the record as a whole. Lund v. Lund, 615 N.W.2d 860, 861 (Minn. App. 2000).
Here, the district court found the value of the homestead to be $450,000, with equity of $374,000, after subtracting the mortgage. Respondent presented expert testimony that the value of the homestead was between $495,000 and $550,000, with the most probable figure being approximately $515,000. Respondent also presented a copy of the limited market value for taxation purposes, which was $262,000, and evidence of required repairs, which would cost between $20,000 and $30,000. Appellant presented his opinion, without further basis, that the value was more than $750,000.
Although the court’s valuation is lower than the expert witness’s opinion, the expert found that the profit in the homestead, after subtracting the cost of sale, and based on a sale price of $515,000, would be $401,000. Using this figure, and subtracting the repair costs of between $20,000 and $30,000, provides a basis for the court’s finding of $374,000 in equity. Based on the evidence, this is a reasonable valuation and is not clearly erroneous.
2. Equitable Division of Marital Property
In a dissolution action, the district court is required to make an equitable distribution of marital property. Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (2002). “However, the property division need not be mathematically equal to be just and equitable.” Justis v. Justis, 384 N.W.2d 885, 888 (Minn. App. 1986) (citation omitted), review denied (Minn. May 29, 1986).
When making an equitable, as distinguished from an equal, division of marital property, the district court must consider the relative ages, health, occupation and earning capacity, needs and opportunity for future income, and acquisition of assets. Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1. The district court here made specific findings that support awarding a greater share of marital assets to respondent. Appellant received a larger share of the liquid assets and has almost $200,000 in non-marital property, the non-marital portion of his business. Appellant has a greater future earning capacity than respondent, based on his earnings record; he earned in excess of $100,000 per year until he began self-limiting his income. Respondent is a nurse, with a current full-time income of about $45,000. Respondent has sole physical and legal custody of the parties’ three children. Appellant failed to pay child support or any of his financial obligations until held in contempt. Appellant has a well-established business and is the apparent heir to his father’s profitable business. Respondent received a small amount of liquid assets, along with the homestead, which will require extensive repairs. In view of these findings, the district court’s decision to award her slightly more than one-half of the marital property was not an abuse of discretion.