This opinion will be unpublished and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:
Debra A. Carter, petitioner,
Robert G. Carter,
Affirmed in part as modified, reversed in part, and remanded
Dakota County District Court
File No. FX-91-13052
Vicki Fagre-Stroetz, 333 North Washington Avenue, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for respondent)
Richard A. Emerick, 2500 West County Road #42, Suite 190, Burnsville, MN 55337 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
On appeal in this maintenance-modification dispute, appellant-husband argues that the district court (1) abused its discretion when it denied his motion to reduce or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation; (2) understated respondent-wife’s income; (3) overstated appellant’s maintenance arrears; (4) should have granted appellant an evidentiary hearing; and (5) abused its discretion by awarding respondent more than the discovery-related fees respondent sought under Minn. R. Civ. P. 37 and did not otherwise support the award with the required findings. Respondent did not file a brief, so this court ordered that the appeal proceed under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 142.03. We affirm in part as modified, reverse in part, and remand.
Appellant Robert G. Carter and respondent Debra A. Carter separated after nearly 21 years of marriage. The parties had three children together. On March 26, 1991, the parties entered into a marital separation agreement that addressed child-support, spousal-maintenance, and attorney fees among other things. Respondent’s attorney prepared the agreement, and appellant chose not to have legal representation. In the separation agreement, the parties agreed that physical and legal custody of their one remaining minor child would be awarded to respondent, appellant would pay $196 per week for child-support, and $437 per week in permanent spousal-maintenance. After the minor child’s emancipation, appellant’s permanent spousal-maintenance obligation would increase to $600 per week. The separation agreement stated that appellant’s gross annual income was approximately $48,000. The separation agreement also stated that respondent made $180 (net) per week and that her job would be eliminated in 1991. The parties’ separation agreement was silent on appellant’s net income and the parties’ monthly living expenses. The district court adopted the parties’ separation agreement as its judgment of separation.
On August 31, 1994, appellant moved to reduce or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation. Appellant acknowledged that he owed $20,000 for past spousal-maintenance, but claimed that he was “tricked” into signing the separation agreement. After extended negotiations, the parties entered into a stipulation to amend the judgment of separation. Both parties were represented by counsel at this time, and appellant entered into the stipulation against his attorney’s advice. In exchange for the stipulation, the parties agreed that respondent would forgive any past arrears for child-support and spousal-maintenance. The stipulation to amend the judgment of separation provided that appellant would pay $950 per month in child-support, $1,050 per month in permanent spousal-maintenance, and the spousal-maintenance would increase to $1,600 per month when the parties’ child was emancipated. The stipulation stated that respondent’s estimated annual gross income was $18,000 and appellant’s estimated annual gross income was $52,000. The stipulation was silent on the parties’ net incomes and monthly living expenses. The district court adopted the stipulation as its amended judgment of separation.
Approximately six years later, the parties appeared for a hearing to dissolve the marriage and an appellant’s motion for modification of his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation. The district court dissolved the parties’ marriage, and reduced appellant’s permanent spousal-maintenance obligation to $1,200 per month. The court reasoned that the $1,600 permanent spousal-maintenance obligation was unreasonable and unfair because appellant’s expenses had increased and respondent’s income had increased.
Appellant again brought a motion seeking to reduce or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation because his employment terminated. This was followed by a series of motions including respondent’s motion to compel discovery and request for attorney fees. Following several re-scheduled hearings, the parties appeared for a hearing regarding all the then pending motions before the district court.
The district court filed an order directing appellant to pay $13,200 in permanent spousal-maintenance arrears for the months of May 2002 through March 2003. The court also ordered appellant to pay respondent $5,000 in attorney fees and costs for his failure to abide by its prior orders and for unreasonably delaying the proceedings. The district court denied all other motions.
In its memorandum accompanying the order, the district court noted that appellant failed to produce loan documents to support his contention that he borrowed money to start his own business. The court also stated that appellant’s claim that his previous employer terminated him was without merit. The district court noted appellant’s claim that he only had a net monthly income of $935.25 after paying his claimed $4,263.61 in monthly living expenses. Appellant refused to disclose his new wife’s income and her contribution, if any, to his monthly living expenses. The court found that respondent’s annual gross income was $27,000, and her monthly living expenses totaled $3,693. Based on an appellant’s aggregate wages for the year 1996 through 1999, and the year 2001, the district court found appellant’s current net monthly income to be $3,167. The court denied appellant’s motion to reduce or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation. This appeal follows.
Appellant argues that the district court erred by denying his motion to reduce or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation. Modification of a spousal maintenance award is left to the sound discretion of the district court. Rapacke v. Rapacke, 442 N.W.2d 340, 343 (Minn. App. 1989). A district court abuses its discretion if it resolves the matter in a manner that is against logic and the facts on record. See Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). When modifying a maintenance award, the district court must determine that there has been a significant change in the parties’ circumstances and that the change renders the terms of the current maintenance order unfair and unreasonable. Videen v. Peters, 438 N.W.2d 721, 724 (Minn. App. 1989), review denied (Minn. Jun. 21, 1989).
a. Respondent’s Income
Appellant argues that the district court erred in calculating respondent’s gross income, and thus, this court should remand for an evidentiary addressing his maintenance related issues, among other things. “Findings of fact concerning spousal maintenance must be upheld unless they are clearly erroneous.” Gessner v. Gessner, 487 N.W.2d 921, 923 (Minn. App. 1992). In determining spousal maintenance, the district court must consider “the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance . . . and the party’s ability to meet needs independently” and “the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.” Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 2(a), (g). An appellate court will not reverse a district court’s determination of net income if it has a reasonable basis in fact. Strauch v. Strauch, 401 N.W.2d 444, 448 (Minn. App. 1987). Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5b, controlling child support, provides the method in which the district court may determine income of the parties. Although maintenance does not have a specific statute to itself, Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5b, provides a logical starting point by comparison.
The parties shall timely serve and file documentation of earnings and income. . . . Documentation of earnings and income also includes, but is not limited to, pay stubs for the most recent three months, employer statements, or statement of receipts and expenses if self-employed. Documentation of earnings and income also includes copies of each parent’s most recent federal tax returns, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, unemployment benefits statements, workers’ compensation statements, and all other documents evidencing income as received that provide verification of income over a longer period.
c. Outstanding Spousal-Maintenance
Appellant argues that the district court overstated his maintenance arrears by $1,600 because the district court failed to credit him for a $600 payment and two $500 payments he made to respondent in partial satisfaction of his unpaid spousal-maintenance. In papers filed with the district court, both respondent and her attorney recognize that appellant has paid the $1,600 in question. Therefore, we modify the portion of the district court’s order to reduce appellant’s outstanding spousal-maintenance arrears from $13,200 to $11,600.
d. Unfair and Unreasonable
The district court noted that appellant submitted numerous affidavits in support of his motion to modify or eliminate his permanent spousal-maintenance obligation. The district court also stated that an evidentiary hearing would not provide the court with any additional relevant information, but allowed appellant to explain why he wanted an evidentiary hearing. Appellant told the court that he intended to prove that respondent was dishonest. Consistent with the record, the district court responded by stating that there was nothing in the documents suggesting that respondent was dishonest, and further that it was not relevant to his motion. Accordingly, we find no error in the district court’s refusal to give appellant an evidentiary hearing. However, since we are remanding on a number of issues, the district court is free to re-consider appellant’s request for an evidentiary hearing if appropriate.
3. Attorney Fees
Under 37.01(d)(1) the court may award attorney fees:
Appellant argues that the district court’s award was excessive and not supported by the record. We agree. There is no factual basis to support the district court’s award of $5,000 in attorney fees and costs. Respondent submitted a supplemental affidavit that reported her attorney fees and costs for representation from September 16, 2002 to February 14, 2003. But appellant’s failure to comply with discovery occurred during only a three-week period, starting in mid-November and ending in the beginning of December 2002. The affidavit does not adequately reflect the fees associated with respondent’s motion to compel discovery. We reverse the district court’s award of $5,000 and remand to give respondent and her attorney the opportunity to re-file the affidavit of fees sought. Any fees awarded as a result of our remand of this issue are limited to respondent’s motion to compel discovery.
Affirmed in part as modified, reversed in part, and remanded.
 Although respondent and the district court did not cite authority for attorney fees, the record shows that the award was for appellant’s failure to comply with discovery.