This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In re the Marriage of:
Leah Jane Poppe,
n/k/a Leah Jane Schmitz, petitioner,
Kent Douglas Poppe,
Filed December 13, 2005
Itasca County District Court
File No. FX-98-2201
John B. Schulte, Begeske Law Offices, 713 Board of Trade Building, 301 West First Street, Duluth, Minnesota 55802 (for respondent)
Kent Douglas Poppe,
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Kent Douglas Poppe challenges a money judgment in favor of respondent-petitioner Leah Jane Schmitz enforcing the parties’ dissolution judgment. Because the district court acted properly to enforce the dissolution judgment, and because appellant failed to prove the debts paid were nonmarital, we affirm.
August 2004, the district court heard the matter and judgment was entered in
wife’s favor for $2,186.58. The district
court ordered husband to pay any remaining debt owed to First Bank of
October 2004, after a motion hearing, the district court vacated the August
2004 order for judgment, but apparently not the judgment itself, and amended
the findings of fact. The district court
issued an order amending the findings in the previous judgment and judgment was
entered for wife in the amount of $2,186.58, with accruing interest. The district court also ordered husband and
wife to split evenly the cost of the nonmarital portion of the First Bank of
Appellant-husband argues that the district court’s award of a money judgment to respondent-wife was an improper re-opening or modification of the dissolution property division, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 518.145, subd. 2 (2004).
dissolution judgments are treated as binding contracts. Shirk v.
Shirk, 561 N.W.2d 519, 521 (
Husband views the approximation of the marital debt at $5,000 as a fixed valuation that should not be disturbed after one year had passed from the time of the judgment. Husband argues that once he paid more than the $5,000 fixed amount, he had fully performed his duty under the decree and should not be forced to pay more. We disagree.
the dissolution judgment, the district court divided the marital debt into two
parts: the wife’s student loans and the remainder. It estimated the remainder debt to be about
$5,000. The district court then assigned
responsibility for the entire remainder debt to husband. The district court’s later issuance of a
money judgment was in direct correlation with the portion of the remainder debt
which had been paid by wife and constituted an enforcement of a provision of
the dissolution judgment; it was not a re-opening or modification of the
dissolution judgment. See Hanson v. Hanson, 379 N.W.2d 230,
Because wife paid some of this credit card debt—which the dissolution judgment apportioned to husband—wife was entitled to ask the court to enforce the dissolution judgment. The district court’s action does not affect the division of the debt but only changes the party making the actual payment to the creditor. Husband was originally required to pay the marital creditors, but because the creditors have been paid by wife, the district court did not abuse its discretion to enforce the dissolution judgment by requiring husband to pay wife instead.
Husband argues that the district court erred in determining, under Minn. Stat. § 518.54, subd. 5 (2004), that the debts paid by wife were marital property.
the dissolution of a marriage, the district court is required to make a just
and equitable distribution of marital property.
Stat. § 518.54, subd. 5 (2004), defines marital
property as property “acquired by the parties, or either of them . . .
during the existence of the marriage,” and nonmarital
property as “property . . . which . . . is acquired before the
marriage.” Subdivision 5 creates a
presumption that property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage
and before the valuation date is marital property.
Husband and wife dispute whether specific credit card debts she paid were marital debts. The district court noted that there was not sufficient evidence in the record to separate out individual purchases which may have preceded the August 1996 marriage. The district court found that even though many of the credit cards were opened prior to the marriage, credit report activity occurred on the cards during the marriage; accordingly, it presumed that some of the debt was marital. The record reflects that the district court used the “last activity” dates on a credit report to infer that the cards had been used during the marriage. The district court then concluded that cards used during the marriage period were more likely than not to be marital debt and thus were debts which had been apportioned to appellant in the dissolution judgment.
had the burden to overcome the presumption that the debts paid by wife were
marital. In that effort, he provided a
receipt and credit application for the First Bank of
Based on this record, the district court did not clearly err in clarifying which debts were marital debts apportioned to appellant as a part of the dissolution judgment.
 Husband also cites Minn. Stat. § 519.02, but
this statute does not apply to property that a husband and wife acquire jointly
during the marriage. Abrahamson v. Abrahamson, 613 N.W.2d
418, 422 (