This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In re:† Darcy C. Vredenburg,
n/k/a Darcy C. Leone, petitioner,
Michael C. Vredenburg,
Filed April 8, 2003
Olmsted County District Court
File No. F4922359
Jill I. Frieders, OíBrien & Wolf, L.L.P., 206 South Broadway, Suite 611, P.O. Box 968, Rochester, Minnesota 55903-0968 (for respondent)
Corrine D. Lynch, Corrine D. Lynch Law Office, 4930 West 77th Street, Suite 210, Edina, Minnesota 55435-4808 (for appellant)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Minge, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D†† O P I N I O N
††††††††††† On appeal after remand in this child-support dispute, appellant-father argues that the district court erred because (a) it failed to consider the financial needs of his children from his first marriage, who reside with him, in determining his child support obligation for the children from his second marriage; (b) it failed to consider the income of respondent-motherís spouse in determining appellant-fatherís child support obligation; (c) it did not accept appellant-fatherís claimed monthly living expenses; and (d) the evidence does not support its allocation of daycare expenses.† Because we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining appellant-fatherís child support obligation, we affirm.
Appellant Michael C. Vredenburg (appellant-father) is the father of seven children.† Four of these children are from his first marriage.† Of these four children, one child is emancipated, two children reside with appellant-father, and the youngest child resides with appellant-fatherís first wife, to whom he pays $400 per month in court-ordered child support.† Appellant-father does not receive any court-ordered child support from his first wife for their two children who reside with him.
Appellant-father also has three children from a second marriage to Darcy C. Leone (respondent-mother) that ended in divorce in 1992.† The determination of child support obligation for these minor children is the subject of this appeal.† Appellant-father was previously ordered to pay $446.95 per month.† Both parties agreed that a modification of the existing child support order was justified, but they could not agree on the proper calculation method.
††††††††††† The parties submitted child-support calculations based upon a 35% child-support deduction, and a prior family deduction of $400 per month.† In a supplemental order dated June 1, 2001, the district court increased appellant-fatherís child support obligation to $1,080 per month, and ordered appellant-father to increase his life insurance.† The district court did not make any findings as required under Minn. Stat. ß 518.551, subd. 5(i) (2002).† Appellant-father appealed, and this court reversed and remanded the matter for the district court to make the requisite findings.
On July 25, 2002, following the remand instructions, the district court made the appropriate findings and amended its June 1, 2001, supplemental order.† Appellant-father was ordered to pay $1,077 per month in child support, and $91 per month in daycare reimbursement.† This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant-father argues that the district court erred in calculating his support obligation for his subsequent children because it failed to take into consideration the financial needs of his two children from his previous marriage who reside with him.† Appellant-father contends that the district court should have given him an additional credit of 30% from his remaining net income to provide for the needs of those two children.† We disagree.
The district court enjoys broad discretion in ordering modifications to child support orders.† See Moylan v. Moylan, 384 N.W.2d 859, 864 (Minn. 1986).† This court will reverse a district courtís order regarding child support only if it is convinced that the district court abused its broad discretion by resolving the matter in a manner ďthat is against the logic and the facts on [the] record.Ē† Gully v. Gully, 599 N.W.2d 814, 820 (Minn. 1999) (citation omitted).
1.† Financial needs of children from a prior marriage
Generally, the calculation of an obligorís child support obligation is governed by section 518.551, subdivision 5 (2002).† Appellant-father relies on section 518.551, subdivision 5f, which addresses subsequent children, to support his claim that the financial needs of the children in his care from his first marriage should be considered in determining his child support obligation for his subsequent children.† But appellant-father has misread the statute.† Minn. Stat. ß 518.551, subd. 5f, applies in the context of a request for modification of a support order that was established prior to the obligor having more children.† Here, appellant-father is challenging the modification of the support order for his subsequent children, not the support order for his first family.† Therefore, the statutory provision relied on by appellant-father is inapplicable.† Appellant-father also cites to section 518.551, subdivision 5f(1), (2), (4).† But as with ß 518.551, subd. 5f, itself, these subdivisions are applicable only if the district court decides to deviate from the guidelines and consider the needs of subsequent children when modifying a support order for children of the first family.† Again, the order before us is for modification of a support order for appellant-fatherís subsequent children.†††
Beyond this statute, appellant-father has not provided any legal authority which supports his contention that the district court should consider the financial needs of the two children residing with him from his first marriage in calculating his support obligation for his subsequent children.† Moreover, one of the children residing with appellant-father is 18 years of age, and there is no indication in the record that this child is still in high school, or is physically or mentally incapable of self-support.† Therefore, this dependent is not a child for the purposes of the child support statute.† See Minn. Stat. ß 518.54, subd. 2 (2002) (ďĎChildí means an individual under 18 years of age, an individual under age 20 who is still attending secondary school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-supportĒ).
The district court was not unmindful of appellant-fatherís financial obligation to the children residing with him from his first marriage, and considered it in determining appellant-fatherís reasonable monthly living expenses.† In calculating appellant-fatherís support obligation for his subsequent children, the district court properly allowed appellant-father a $400 credit for the current child support obligation he has for the minor child from his first marriage residing with his first wife.† See Minn. Stat. ß 518.551, subd. 5(b)(viii) (2002) (indicating the court may deduct a current child support obligation when calculating net income).† We note that appellant-father does not receive court-ordered child support from his first wife for their children in his care.† See Minn. Stat. ß 518.57, subd. 1 (2002) (upon dissolution, district court shall order child support of minor children).† On the record before us, we are unable to ascertain if upon the dissolution of appellant-fatherís first marriage, the district court reserved the issue of child support for the minor children residing with him, or determined that appellant-fatherís first wifeís child support obligation to these children was zero.† But in either case, if appellant-father is in need of financial assistance to care for the minor child that resides with him, he is not without a remedyóappellant-father may pursue a claim for child support against his first wife.† See Minn. Stat. ß 256.87, subd. 5 (2002) (a person having physical custody of a dependent child not receiving public assistance has a cause of action for child support against the childís non-custodial parent).†
A fair reading of Minn. Stat. ß 518.551 (2002) simply does not compel a ruling that the financial needs of an obligorís first children who reside with him must be taken into consideration when determining an obligorís child support obligation to subsequent children.† Therefore, we conclude that, on the record before us, the district court did not abuse its broad discretion in not considering appellant-fatherís financial obligation to the children of his first marriage that reside with him, when it determined appellant-fatherís child-support obligation to his subsequent children.†
2.† Income of a spouse in calculating child support obligation
Appellant-father next argues that the district court erred because it refused to require respondent-mother to submit a copy of her joint income tax return with her current spouse.† Appellant-father contends that respondent-motherís spouseís income is a very substantial contribution to respondent-motherís household expenses, and should be considered by the district court in determining a fair and equitable child support obligation.† We disagree.†
Appellant-fatherís argument is contrary to Minnesota law.† When modifying a child support order, the district must apply section 518.551, subdivision 5, but may not consider the financial circumstances of either partyís spouse.† Minn. Stat. ß 518.64, subd. 2(c)(1) (2002).† Therefore, respondent-motherís spouseís income is irrelevant for the purpose of determining appellant-fatherís child support obligation, and the district court did not err.
3.† Monthly living expenses
Appellant-father challenges the district courtís finding that his monthly living expenses were substantially less than claimed.† But appellant-father has not provided any analysis to support his claim that the district court erred in lowering his claimed budget.† This court generally will not address issues in the absence of adequate briefing.† Depít of Labor and Indus. v. Wintz Parcel Drivers, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 480, 480 (Minn. 1997).†
Nevertheless, we find that the district court did not clearly err when it found appellant-fatherís monthly living expenses to be less than those claimed by appellant-father.† Appellant-father claimed $4,795 in monthly living expenses, which the district court reduced to $2,000 per month, taking into consideration appellant-fatherís union dues, first-family child support obligation, and life insurance payments.† Appellant-father has not asserted, nor does the record reveal, how this finding is clearly erroneous.† Notably, the district court also reduced respondent-motherís claimed monthly living expenses from $8,022.08 to $4,000 per month.† The district court is not required to adopt a partyís claimed expenses.† Allan v. Allan, 509 N.W.2d 593, 597 (Minn. App. 1993).† We conclude that the record supports the district courtís finding of appellant-fatherís monthly expenses and that finding is not clearly erroneous.†
4.† Daycare expense allocation
We now address appellant-fatherís contention that the record does not support the trial courtís allocation of daycare expenses.† Appellant-father asserts that the district court erred because it failed to consider his financial obligations to the children of his first marriage that are not living with him.† But, as we have concluded, the child support statute does not require the district court to take these first-family expenses into consideration.†
Appellant-fatherís final contention is that the district court erred in its daycare allocation because there is no documentation in the record of respondent-motherís daycare needs since the June 2001 hearing.† But the hearing was held on April 24, 2001, not June 2001.† The district court issued its order on June 1, 2001.† In the record are four affidavits from respondent-motherís daycare providers, notarized April 16, 2001, and April 17, 2001, detailing respondent-motherís daycare expenses from the summer of 2000, to April 12, 2001.† Although the district court did not issue its amended order pursuant to this courtís remand instructions until July 25, 2002, respondent-motherís daycare expenses after June 2001 were not before the court.† The record contains sufficient documentation of respondent-motherís daycare expenses for the time period covered by the district courtís July 25, 2002, order.†
Section 518.551, subdivision 5f, provides, in relevant part:
Subsequent children.† The needs of subsequent children shall not be factored into a support guidelines calculation under subdivision 5.† The fact that an obligor had additional children after entry of a child support order is not grounds for a modification to decrease the amount of support owed.† However, the fact that an obligor has subsequent children shall be considered in response to a request by an obligee for a modification to increase child support.
 Subdivision (1) provides that the district court must ďfind the obligorís total ability to contribute to dependent children, taking into account the obligorís income and reasonable expenses exclusive of child care.Ē† Subdivision (2) provides that the district court must
find the total needs of all the obligorís children, and if these needs are less than the obligorís ability to pay, the needs may become the obligorís child support obligation.† When considering the needs of subsequent children, the trial court must reduce those amounts as appropriate to take into account the ability to contribute to those needs by another parent of the children.†
Subdivision 5f(4) provides that the district court is to
exercise discretion to fairly determine the current support obligation and the contribution left available for other children, considering that the support obligation being determined should be in an amount at least equal to the contribution for a subsequent child.