This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).






Hennepin County,



Darchelle Ann Norris,







Leonard J. Samuels, Jr.,




Filed October 25, 2005


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. PA 20136



Darchelle Ann Norris, 111 Benton Street East, Cologne, MN 55322 (pro se respondent)


Leonard J. Samuels, Jr., 1113 33rd Avenue North, St. Cloud, MN 56303 (pro se appellant)



            Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Randall, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

Appellant-father Leonard Samuels challenges the district court’s denial of his request to modify his child-support obligation, arguing that he cannot afford to pay $315 per month because he is unemployed.  We affirm.

D E C I S I O N 

The district court denied Samuels’s request to modify his child-support obligation because Samuels had failed to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances making the existing child-support order unreasonable and unfair.  We will reverse a district court’s order regarding child support “only if we are convinced that the district court abused its broad discretion by reaching a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record.”  Putz v. Putz, 645 N.W.2d 343, 347 (Minn. 2002). 

On appeal, Samuels does not suggest any legal basis to conclude that the district court erred, nor does he argue that any of the district court’s findings are unsupported by the evidence.  Rather, his brief is composed of claims that he cannot pay his current child-support obligation because he is not working and that he “has looked for jobs, and applied lots of places with no success.”  When an appellant’s argument comprises solely unsupported assertions, we will not reverse a district court’s decision unless prejudicial error is obvious from mere inspection.  State v. Modern Recycling, 558 N.W.2d 770, 772 (Minn. App. 1997).    

Here, the district court correctly determined that whether to modify an existing child-support order is controlled by Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2 (2004), which provides that child support may be modified only upon a showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances rendering the existing child-support obligation unreasonable and unfair.  The district court found that Samuels did not establish an inability to work, that the medical statement he provided did not establish a disability that prevents him from being employed, and that Samuels failed to provide verification of job contacts that would establish that he made a good-faith effort to become employed.  The record evidence reasonably supports these findings.[1]  The court also found Samuels’s assertion that he is unable to work and unable to pay his child-support obligation lacked credibility in light of his current lifestyle, including the acquisition of a 2001 Daewoo automobile, and we defer to that determination.  See Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 (Minn. 1988) (stating that appellate courts defer to district court’s determination of witness credibility). 

As the party requesting a modification, Samuels had the burden to prove that modification was appropriate.  Gorz v. Gorz, 552 N.W.2d 566, 569 (Minn. App. 1996).  At a minimum, this required Samuels to provide the district court with evidence of his financial circumstances that he claimed warranted the modification.  See Spooner v. Spooner, 410 N.W.2d 412, 413 (Minn. App. 1987) (stating that a “party has a duty to supply financial information in a proper fashion to the trial court [and f]ailure to do so justifies adverse inferences”); see also Eisenschenk v. Eisenschenk, 668 N.W.2d 235, 243  (Minn. App. 2003) (stating that a “party cannot complain about a district court’s failure to rule in her favor when one of the reasons it did not do so is because that party failed to provide the district court with the evidence that would allow the district court to fully address the question”), review denied (Minn. Nov. 25, 2003).  Having found that Samuels did not prove his inability to work or his inability to find a job despite a good-faith effort on his part, it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to conclude that Samuels had not demonstrated that there had been a substantial change in circumstances making the existing child-support order unreasonable and unfair.  See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5b(d) (2004) (stating that district courts may “impute income” to child support obligor who is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, and placing burden on obligor to prove otherwise).   


[1] On appeal, Samuels has submitted a letter from his doctor to his attorney on an unrelated matter stating that he recently underwent surgery to correct an injury sustained in a car accident.  This letter was not before the district court and will not be considered on appeal.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.01 (stating that record on appeal consists of “[t]he papers filed in the district court, the exhibits, and the transcript of the proceedings”).