This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In re the Marriage of:
Jenny L. Woods, petitioner,
Joseph D. Woods, III,
Dakota County, intervenor,
Filed December 12, 2006
Dakota County District Court
File No. F4-91-2371
Jenny L. Woods, 3954 Dale Street North, Shoreview, MN 55126 (pro se respondent)
Joseph D. Woods, III, 6408 54th Street North, Oakdale, MN 55128 (pro se appellant)
Pamela L. Zielske, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for respondent Dakota County)
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge, Ross, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
We infer from appellant’s brief statement of contentions that he claims abuse of district court discretion for failing to reinstate his driver’s license after an earlier suspension for non-payment of child support. The district court made appropriate findings against reinstatement, and we affirm.
It is undisputed by the parties that appellant has been subject to a child support order at all times pertinent to this appeal. Child support, originally set at $143 per month, has increased to $198 per month due to cost-of-living changes. It is undisputed by the parties that arrears as of December 19, 2005, amounted to $25,849.37.
The record shows that appellant last suffered a driver’s license suspension under Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 13 (2004) in January 2005. In November 2005, appellant petitioned the child support magistrate for reinstatement of his license, largely on his claim that he needed a car to get to work. The magistrate made findings of fact stating appellant’s arrearages and contradicting his claimed excuse. Premised on findings that contradicted appellant’s claim, the magistrate concluded, and the district court agreed, that appellant was not an appropriate candidate for driver’s license reinstatement.
Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 13(e) (2004) governs appellant’s petition for reinstatement of his driver’s license, providing only that “[a]t the hearing, if the court or child support magistrate orders reinstatement of the driver’s license, the court or child support magistrate must establish a written payment agreement pursuant to section 518.553.” Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 13(e)(2). The statute also permits the driver to seek a 90-day limited license.
In light of the statutory language, it is evident that determination of reinstatement is at the discretion of the district court and magistrate. We will not reverse such determination in the absence of an abuse of that discretion. See County of Anoka ex rel. Hassan v. Roba, 690 N.W.2d 322, 324 (Minn. App. 2004) (stating that on appeal from a final order issued by a magistrate, appellate review considers whether the magistrate has abused his or her discretion by improperly applying the law to the facts). The magistrate denied reinstatement based on the circumstances of this case after making specific findings, and appellant does not assert that the findings are unsupported by the record.
The magistrate considered appellant’s claims that he pays what he can and that he needs his driver’s license to continue working but determined that appellant was deeply in arrears and failed to make payments when he held a valid license. Further, the magistrate found an absence of effort on appellant’s part to consider whether he could alleviate his asserted dilemma by relocating closer to his jobs or a co-worker. Finally, in addition to the reasons stated, the magistrate offered a reasonable remedy for appellant in the form of a proposed payment plan.
The magistrate’s broad discretion and rationale are satisfactory to demonstrate an absence of error.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.