This opinion will be unpublished and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:
Gretchen Iris Snedeker,
n/k/a Gretchen Iris Anderson, petitioner,
Brad Lawrence Snedeker,
File No. F0011628
James J. Schlichting,
Robert A. Manson,
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district court’s award of attorney fees to respondent in this dissolution matter, arguing that neither the record nor the findings supports an award of attorney fees. Because the parties’ dissolution decree allows the award, and because the findings justifying the award are supported by the record, we affirm.
The parties’ dissolution decree required appellant Brad Lawrence Snedeker (husband) to pay respondent Gretchen Iris Snedeker, n/k/a Gretchen Iris Anderson (wife) $16,769 (property settlement) with interest at 6% and $11,200 in attorney fees designated as “additional spousal maintenance” at 4% interest, in monthly installments. The decree also provided for recovery of attorney fees incurred by either party as a result of the other party’s default on any provision in the decree.
Husband defaulted on the ordered payments. Wife moved for judgment on the amounts owed and, under the provision in the decree, requested attorney fees incurred in obtaining the judgments. Husband moved to deny entry of judgment, arguing that wife miscalculated the amounts owed. Husband also requested that attorney fees be denied. At a hearing on the motions, wife admitted that her calculations were incorrect. The district court entered judgment for the correct amount plus attorney fees in the amount of $1,242. The attorney-fee award was made under the provision in the decree for recovery of attorney fees from a defaulting party. Husband appeals the award of attorney fees.
D E C I S I O N
Attorney-fee awards in dissolution
cases are generally governed by Minn. Stat. § 518.14, subd. 1 (2004), which provides
for both need-based and conduct-based awards.
Geske v. Marcolina, 624 N.W.2d
813, 816 (
cites Barr/Nelson, Inc. v. Tonto’s Inc.,
336 N.W.2d 46, 53 (
Husband’s argument is otherwise defective. The dissolution decree, including the
attorney-fee provision, became final when the time to appeal the decree
expired. Dieseth v. Calder Mfg. Co., 275 Minn. 365, 370, 147 N.W.2d 100, 103
(1966) (“Even though the decision of the trial court in the first order may
have been wrong, if it is an appealable order it is still final after the time
for appeal has expired.”); Erickson v.
Erickson, 506 N.W.2d 679, 680 (
Because husband is precluded from challenging the inclusion of the attorney-fee provision in the dissolution decree, the district court may award fees under the provision if a party defaults on decree obligations. Therefore, wife’s fee award need not have been made under Minn. Stat. § 518.14, subd. 1. Because the attorney-fee provision governs the fee award, we reject husband’s argument that the award is defective because it lacks the findings to support an award under Minn. Stat. § 518.14, subd. 1. The district court found that husband “has not made any payments on the property settlement” and that he “has not timely made all of his spousal maintenance payments” as required by the decree. The record supports these findings, the findings support an award under the decree, and we affirm the district court’s award to wife of $1,242 in attorney fees.
Wife included a motion in her
appellate brief, asserting that she is entitled to attorney fees on appeal for
time spent preparing for three issues that husband included in his statement of
the case on appeal but abandoned prior to briefing. “A party seeking attorneys’ fees on appeal
shall submit such a request by motion under Rule 127.”
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 We express no opinion about whether, in an appeal from the dissolution decree, we would have affirmed or reversed the dissolution court’s inclusion of the attorney-fee provision in the decree.