This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






In re the Marriage of:


Mari J. Dewall, n/k/a Mari J. Fredrickson, petitioner,





John Dewall,



Filed October 25, 2005


Kalitowski, Judge


Washington County District Court

File No. F6-93-103917


Anne M. Honsa, Honsa & Michales, P.A., 5500 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 1075, Minneapolis, MN 55416 (for respondent)


Robert J. Lawton, 1100 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            On appeal in this child-support dispute, appellant-father argues that the district court (1) overstated appellant’s income for support purposes by failing to reduce it for support paid for a subsequent child and by understating his medical insurance deduction; (2) failed to adequately consider that appellant’s income, monthly expenses, support obligation, and debt obligations leave him with a monthly deficit; and (3) failed to make findings of fact to adequately support what is functionally an upward deviation from the support guidelines.  We affirm. 

            D E C I S I O N


            The district court has wide discretion in considering motions to modify child support, and a district court’s order on modification will be reversed only if it is against logic and the facts on record.  Putz v. Putz, 645 N.W.2d 343, 347 (Minn. 2002).  On appeal from an order deciding a motion for review of a child support magistrate’s decision, this court reviews the order from which the appeal is taken, and, to the extent that the original decision is affirmed, it becomes the decision of the district court.  Kilpatrick v. Kilpatrick, 673 N.W.2d 528, 530 n.2 (Minn. App. 2004); see Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 376.03 (stating “[a] motion for review may be decided either by the child support magistrate who issued the decision and order or, at the request of any party, a district court judge”).   This court will reverse the district court’s decision on child support only when there is no evidentiary or logical justification for the amount.  Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). Findings of fact are not to be set aside unless clearly erroneous.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.



            Appellant challenges the district court’s denial of his motion to decrease child support payable for L.D., his 13-year-old son from his marriage to respondent.  A child support order may be modified if the moving party shows a substantial change in circumstances making the existing support order unreasonable and unfair.  Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(a) (2004).  If the application of the child support guidelines results in a calculation of support that is at least 20% and $50 per month higher or lower than the current support obligation, the terms of the current support order shall be rebuttably presumed unreasonable and unfair.  Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(b)(1).

            The district court rejected appellant’s argument that his net monthly income for calculating child support should be reduced by the amount of child support he pays for his four-year-old child from a later marriage.  The court stated that it had “previously dealt with this exact same issue” in its order granting respondent’s motion to increase child support five months earlier.  In that order, the district court concluded that guidelines support would be determined with reference to the oldest child first, and any statutory “reduction in . . . child support obligation would come in the second [d]issolution with the second born child.”

            Collateral estoppel “bars the relitigation of issues which are both identical to those issues already litigated by the parties in a prior action and necessary and essential to the resulting judgment.”  Clapper v. Budget Oil Co., 437 N.W.2d 722, 725 (Minn. App. 1989), review denied (Minn. June 9, 1989).  Collateral estoppel present a mixed question of law and fact subject to de novo review.  Falgren v. State, Bd. of Teaching, 545 N.W.2d 901, 905 (Minn. 1996).   Although the application and availability of res judicata and collateral estoppel in family court matters is limited, “the underlying principle that an adjudication on the merits of an issue is conclusive, and should not be relitigated, clearly applies.”  Loo v. Loo, 520 N.W.2d 740, 744 (Minn. 1994); see id. at 744 n.1 (discussing applicability of res judicata, collateral estoppel, and law of the case in family matters). 

            The district court, in the parties’ litigation of respondent’s earlier motion for modification, considered and rejected appellant’s argument that his net monthly income should be reduced by the amount he paid for support of his younger child and it is undisputed that this ruling was necessary to the disposition of respondent’s earlier motion.  Therefore, this determination has a preclusive effect, and appellant may not relitigate that issue.

            Moreover, even if review were not barred by the previous adjudication, the district court did not err in its statement of the law.  The calculation of a guidelines child-support obligation is determined with reference to net monthly income, which includes a deduction for a support order “that is [c]urrently [b]eing [p]aid.”   Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b) (2004).  But a guidelines support calculation does not factor in the needs of subsequent children.  Id., subd. 5f (2004).  “The fact that an obligor had additional children after the entry of a child support order is not grounds for a modification to decrease the amount of support owed.”  Id.  And this court has determined that, “absent good cause to rule otherwise, for purposes of Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5f, a prior child is the older child by age, and the subsequent child is the younger child.”  In re Paternity of J.M.V. and R.R.V., 656 N.W.2d 558, 564 (Minn. App. 2003), review denied (Minn. Apr. 19, 2003).  In this case, L.D. is the older child, and the younger child from appellant’s later marriage is the subsequent child.   Therefore, the district court did not err in making guidelines-support calculations for L.D. without deducting from appellant’s net income the amount of child-support payable to the child from appellant’s later marriage. 

            Appellant also challenges the district court’s net-monthly-income calculation as based on incorrect findings of his income and medical-expense deductions.  A district court’s findings on net income for child-support purposes will be affirmed on appeal if they have a reasonable basis in fact and are not clearly erroneous.  State ex rel. Rimolde v. Tinker, 601 N.W.2d 468, 470 (Minn. App. 1999). 

            The child support magistrate (CSM) found appellant’s net monthly income from his teaching and coaching duties to be $3,963, based on his gross yearly income of $76,500 as reported on a Minnesota Department of Economic Security wage matching report for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2004.  Appellant argues instead for an average net monthly income of $3,436.11, based on the sum of his monthly income paid over 20 paychecks per year and dividing that sum by 12, with a deduction for child-support paid.  We disagree.  Appellant’s exhibit reflects that he incorrectly “double counted” a child-support deduction from his gross biweekly paycheck by deducting the amount of child support he was already paying for L.D., the child covered by the order in this proceeding. 

            We also reject appellant’s argument that the CSM, affirmed by the district court, deducted an incorrect amount for his medical-insurance premiums.  See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b) (2004) (listing medical insurance as deduction for calculating net monthly income).  A letter from appellant’s employer in June 2004 confirms medical and dental insurance costs of $213.20 per month at that time.  But his more recent pay stub for the beginning of the 2004-05 school year showed a reduced medical-insurance deduction of $54.79 taken every two weeks for “flexible health insurance.”  Thus, the record shows that the $54.79 figure used by the CSM replaced the prior figure cited by appellant.  Based on the evidence presented, we conclude that the CSM did not abuse its discretion in using the more recent, revised medical-insurance deduction in calculating appellant’s net monthly income.  


            Appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion by applying the child-support guidelines without regard to his total financial circumstances because application of the current order leaves him with a monthly deficit after he has paid his monthly expenses and support for two children.  Because his argument is predicated on the hardship of two support obligations, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion.  The district court was not required to consider the support paid to appellant’s second child as a factor in determining his support obligation to L.D.  See Hayes v. Hayes, 473 N.W.2d 364, 365-66 (Minn. App. 1991)(noting “the long-standing recognition that a child support obligor must favor an established obligation over a subsequently assumed obligation”); see also Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 303.06 (stating the support-order requirement that support payment takes priority over other obligations, and that party who remarries and accepts additional support obligations does so with full knowledge of prior support obligations).

            The district court, in the first modification proceeding, considered that appellant had a subsequent child.  See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5f (2004) (stating that “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”).  But because the district court did not deviate from the guidelines in that proceeding, the court was not required to make further findings to consider the needs of that child.  See id. (stating requirements of factual findings if court deviates from guidelines).  



            Appellant argues for the first time on appeal that the district court erred by failing to make sufficient findings supporting its order, which deviated upward from the child-support guidelines.  See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i) (2004) (stating that deviation from guidelines must be supported by findings on, among other factors, earnings and income of parties).  Because this argument was not made to the district court on appellant’s motion for review, it is not properly before us.  See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (stating that appellate court generally does not consider issues not raised below).  

            Moreover, the CSM made findings on appellant’s and respondent’s income and expenses, and the district court found that the CSM’s calculations were correct.  Appellant did not present evidence on other statutory factors before the district court.  See Eisenschenk v. Eisenschenk, 668 N.W.2d 235, 243 (Minn. App. 2003) (stating that party cannot complain about unfavorable ruling when “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).

            And finally, we note that the district court expressly noted, but did not include in its support calculation, additional income from appellant’s sideline business selling sporting goods.  These earnings qualified as income for support purposes.  See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(c)(1) (2004) (stating that court shall take into account all “earnings, income, and resources” of parties in setting support); Minn. Stat. § 518.54, subd. 6 (2004) (defining income as “any form of periodic payment” including but not limited to wages and salaries); Erler v. Erler, 390 N.W.2d 316, 320 (Minn. App. 1986) (holding that district court did not abuse discretion in considering regular income from part-time jobs in setting support). 

            We conclude that the district court did not clearly err in calculating support and did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s motion for modification.