This opinion will be unpublished and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
re the Marriage of:
Marcus Edward Jundt, petitioner,
Charlene Karen Jundt,
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
Hennepin County District Court
File No. DC282382
Kathleen M. Picotte Newman, Joani C. Moberg, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., 1500 Wells Fargo Plaza, 7900 Xerxes Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55431-1194 (for appellant Charlene Jundt)
Peter H. Watson, Peter H. Watson & Associates, P.A., 2124 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405-2778; and
Leland S. Watson, 836
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Stoneburner, Judge.
Appellant challenges the district court’s order enforcing a choice-of-law provision in the parties’ antenuptial agreement and the subsequent amended dissolution decree, arguing that (1) Minnesota law should apply; (2) the antenuptial agreement is invalid; (3) the district court abused its discretion in the amount and duration of maintenance awarded; (4) the district court abused its discretion by failing to provide her a right of first refusal to care for the children during respondent’s parenting time; and (5) the district court abused its discretion in the award of conduct-based attorney fees. Respondent challenges the district court’s post-decree order concerning division of personal property. Because the district court did not err in its choice-of-law determination; did not err in concluding that the antenuptial agreement is valid; and did not abuse its discretion with regard to maintenance, parenting time, or attorney fees; we affirm in part. Because the district court should have applied the antenuptial agreement to distribution of personal property, we reverse in part and remand.
Charlene Karen Jundt (wife) and respondent Marcus Edward Jundt (husband) met in
Husband’s parents were the principal
owners of Jundt Associates, Inc., a successful investment-advisory firm that managed
significant assets of investors. Husband
explained that his parents insisted that each of their children enter into a
valid premarital agreement before marriage so that the family’s money would not
“walk away” in the event of a marriage dissolution. Husband’s attorney provided wife with the
names of several attorneys, and wife consulted one of these attorneys regarding
the antenuptial agreement. Wife’s
attorney fees were paid by husband’s family.
Wife’s attorney explained to wife that under the antenuptial agreement
proposed by husband’s attorney,
Husband joined the family firm and became its president. He eventually purchased the business. The parties lived a very affluent lifestyle. Husband’s income was significant until 2002 when, according to husband, the business began to experience financial difficulties. Wife was a homemaker and cared for the parties’ children. She was also extensively active in charities, in which she held leadership positions.
Husband began dissolution
proceedings in January 2003. Wife, who
fractured her back while sledding with the children in February 2003, challenged
the validity of the antenuptial agreement, and the district court bifurcated
the case to determine the validity of the agreement before addressing the
remaining issues. The parties submitted
the choice-of-law issue to the district court on written arguments. On November 7, 2003, the district court
issued a memorandum decision upholding the choice-of-law provision in the
agreement and concluding that the validity of the agreement would be determined
Husband appeals the method of personal-property division, arguing that the antenuptial agreement should control division of the parties’ separate property which should not have been included on the lists. Wife appeals the choice-of-law determination, the determination that the antenuptial agreement is valid, the district court’s refusal to grant her a right of first refusal to care for the children during husband’s parenting time, the maintenance provision, and the attorney-fee awards. The appeals were consolidated.
I. Choice of law
Choice-of-law questions are
questions of law and are reviewed de novo.
Schumacher v. Schumacher, 676
N.W.2d 685, 690 (
Wife argues that “closer scrutiny” of the choice-of-law provision is required in family-law cases “to ensure that Minnesota does not abdicate to other states its constitutional powers to establish important social policies” and cites McKee-Johnson v. Johnson, 444 N.W.2d 259, 267 (Minn. 1989), as support for that proposition. But McKee-Johnson did not involve a choice-of-law provision, and we find no authority in that case for the assertion that closer scrutiny of choice-of-law provisions must be applied to an antenuptial agreement.
Wife also asserts that husband acted
in bad faith with the intent to evade
Wife also asserts that because
husband’s family paid for her lawyer, she was not adequately represented, but
again the evidence does not support this assertion. Wife chose an attorney from names presented
to her by husband’s attorney, but makes no claim that her choice was limited to
these names. Wife was a college graduate
with a responsible engineering position at the time she entered into the
agreement, and she actively participated with her attorney in negotiating
better terms for herself in the agreement.
We conclude that the district court did not err in concluding that there
is no evidence of bad faith or intent to evade the law sufficient to set aside
Because the choice-of-law provision
is valid, we decline to enter into the choice-of-law analysis that would be
required absent a choice-of-law provision, despite the fact that the district
court conducted such an analysis and the parties have devoted a substantial
portion of their briefs to such analysis.
Suffice it to say that if we were to conduct such an analysis, we would
agree with the district court that consideration of the factors does not
II. Validity of antenuptial agreement
Although wife’s primary argument is
that the antenuptial agreement is invalid under
may receive by gift or inheritance from his parents, directly or indirectly and outright or in trust, substantial additional assets (including common stock of Jundt Associates, Inc.), possibly with total value in excess of millions of dollars. This possibility is an expectancy only, and has no ascertainable value at this time.
Wife has provided no authority for, and we find no merit in, her assertion that husband’s family’s net worth or details of their wealth were required to be disclosed in the context of the antenuptial agreement.
Additionally, under California law,
the antenuptial agreement is enforceable unless wife proves that (1) she was not
provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of husband’s property; (2) she
did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of
the property beyond the disclosure provided; and (3) she did not have, or
reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of husband’s
Wife also argued, without citing any
controlling authority, that the provision for attorney fees to the prevailing
party in any dispute over the agreement is unenforceable as “[o]ppressive and
coercive.” The district court relied on
The decree awards wife maintenance
in the amount of $12,000 beginning in 2004, to be reduced by $400 in each
succeeding year though 2011, then to remain constant until 2014, at which time
it shall terminate unless a motion to extend maintenance is made before that
date. Wife argues that whether she will
be able to earn a sufficient salary in the future to support herself is
speculative and cites Morrison v. Morrison, 20
The district court explained the
basis of the maintenance award, including wife’s education and work
experience. The district court relied on
the testimony of wife’s doctor that injuries such as she sustained in the
sledding accident typically heal within one year, wife’s testimony that she
will seek employment, and wife’s statements to a vocational analyst that she
might be interested in a career in scientific research or post-secondary
teaching. And through what is known in
Wife also argues that the district court abused its discretion in setting the amount of maintenance, citing Cal. Fam. Code § 4330, which provides that maintenance should be based on the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into consideration several factors listed in section 4320. Wife complains that the district court unilaterally reduced her claimed reasonable monthly expenses of $16,949 by nearly $5,000.
The district court set out its analysis of the maintenance decision in detail, finding that wife submitted a “Quicken” analysis for the parties’ highest-spending year with adjustments by wife. The district court agreed with wife that the parties had an affluent lifestyle during the marriage, but found that wife’s budget was not representative of the marital standard of living. The district court noted that wife was able to pay for her $1,250,000 home and has no mortgage payment. The district court found that wife’s budget contained unexplained, inflated, and unreasonable expenses, and the court made reductions to some of those expenses such as the wine budget (noting the substantial amount of valuable fine wine she was awarded in the decree), car expenses (noting that she had no car payments), and her “pocket money.” The district court made six pages of findings on the factors listed in Cal. Fam. Code § 4320, demonstrating that its exercise of discretion was not arbitrary, capricious, or patently absurd. See In re Geoffrey G., 159 Cal. Rptr. 460, 465 (Ct. App. 1979) (stating that “[w]here a trial court has discretionary power to decide an issue, a reviewing court will not disturb that decision unless the trial court has exceeded the limits of legal discretion by making an arbitrary, capricious, or patently absurd determination”).
IV. Denial of right of first refusal to care for children during husband’s parenting time
Wife argues that the district court abused its discretion by granting husband a right of first refusal during her parenting time with the children without a corresponding right for wife because it is in the children’s best interests to be with their mother rather than a third-party caregiver. Wife cites no authority for her assertion that the district court’s decision represents an abuse of discretion, and we find no merit in her argument.
V. Attorney fees award
Wife argues that the district court
abused its discretion in awarding her only $15,000 in conduct-based attorney
fees and requests this court to award her $100,000 in conduct-based fees. An award of attorney fees “rests almost
entirely within the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed
absent a clear abuse of discretion.” Crosby v. Crosby, 587 N.W.2d 292, 298 (
VI. Husband’s challenge to property division
After having upheld the validity of the antenuptial agreement, the district court inexplicably failed to apply the terms of the agreement to the division of personal property. When the district court proposed to dispose of personal property by auction or a “two-list method,” husband stated he did not object to the two-list method “[a]s long as the Court can rule on the issue of separate property.” We conclude that husband thereby conditioned acceptance of the two-list method on the district court excluding separate property from that method of division, and the district court clearly erred by ordering separate property to be included on the lists. The antenuptial agreement defines what property shall remain the separate property of each party and should have been applied. We reverse the division of personal property and remand for a division of the parties’ separate property under the terms of the antenuptial agreement. On remand, the district court shall also determine whether the four paintings husband asserts belong to the business are his separate property under the provision awarding him the business assets.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
 Upon consolidating the two appeals in this matter, this court ordered that Charlene Jundt would proceed as appellant for briefing and oral argument.
 Husband argues that the agreement is valid even if