This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ' 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Kathleen M. Gardner, petitioner,
William A. Gardner,
Filed July 30, 1996
Dakota County District Court
File No. F9885807
Kathleen M. Picotte Newman, Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., 1500 Norwest Financial Center, 7900 Xerxes Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55431 (for Appellant)
Dan C. O'Connell, Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, P.L.L.P., West 1100 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Considered and decided by Parker, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Foley, Judge.*
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, ' 10.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
This dispute arises out of a 1989 stipulated dissolution judgment, which included an award of temporary spousal maintenance for a six-year period. In 1995, William A. Gardner's former spouse moved for permanent spousal maintenance. The trial court granted her request but reduced the amount of maintenance. On appeal, Gardner argues: (1) the trial court failed to apply the correct legal standard; (2) his former spouse did not show a substantial change in circumstances rendering the original award unreasonable and unfair; and (3) the trial court made insufficient findings to support its modification of maintenance. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Trial courts enjoy broad discretion to modify spousal maintenance obligations, and will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion. Wiese v. Wiese, 295 N.W.2d 371, 372 (Minn. 1980). We must affirm a trial court's factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.
Gardner argues the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to pay permanent spousal maintenance because it ignored the criteria governing modification of a maintenance obligation and considered only the factors relevant to the establishment of a maintenance obligation. See Minn. Stat. '' 518.552, subd. 2 (1994) (listing eight factors to be considered by courts when determining maintenance awards), 518.64, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 1995) (requiring a showing of a substantial change in circumstances that renders the original terms unreasonable and unfair). Despite some imprecise language in its order, the record demonstrates that the trial court also applied the criteria set forth in Minn. Stat. ' 518.64, subd. 2(a). Given this proper analysis, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion by awarding permanent maintenance.
Gardner also argues his former spouse failed to show a substantial change in circumstances that renders the original award unreasonable and unfair. See Minn. Stat. ' 518.64, subd. 2(a) (requiring such a showing to support a modification of a maintenance order). We disagree. The record shows that Gardner's former spouse: (1) was a traditional homemaker during the parties' 22-year marriage; (2) worked two part-time jobs in order to complete 40 hours of work per week; (3) obtained occupational training at work; (4) made a good-faith effort to become self-supporting by raising her income from $5,478 per year to $16,433 per year, and earned health and dental coverage; (5) failed to rehabilitate herself fully while receiving temporary maintenance; and (6) provided $20,700 toward their children's college education. At the same time, Gardner's net monthly income has increased from $5,200 to $10,000. Furthermore, the original decree neither mandated that Gardner's former spouse finish her education nor prohibited her from seeking permanent maintenance at the end of the six-year period. Under these circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding $2,000 per month in permanent maintenance. See Katter v. Katter, 457 N.W.2d 750, 753 (Minn. App. 1990) (noting the obligee's failure to rehabilitate while receiving temporary maintenance meets the statutory requirement of a substantial change in circumstances). A maintenance recipient is not expected to liquidate assets in order to meet monthly living expenses. Bury v. Bury, 416 N.W.2d 133, 138 (Minn. App. 1987).
Gardner further argues the trial court failed to make specific findings of fact regarding the factors outlined in Minn. Stat. ' 518.552, subd. 2. See Minn. Stat. ' 518.64, subd. 2(b) (Supp. 1995) (requiring consideration of these factors when modifying a maintenance award); see also Stich v. Stich, 435 N.W.2d 52, 53 (Minn. 1989) (statin