This opinion will be unpublished and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
State of Minnesota, County of Carver, ex rel.
Cynthia Dawn Arney, n/k/a
Cynthia Dawn Duncan,
Michael David Delbow,
Filed August 20, 1996
Carver County District Court
File No. F79450088
Michael Fahey, Carver County Attorney, Kari L.S. Myrold, Chief Deputy County Attorney, Government Center, Justice Center, 600 East Fourth Street, Chaska, MN 55318 (for Respondents)
G. John Veith, 915 Grain Exchange Building, 400 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
In this Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act action, Michael Delbow argues the district court erred in setting his support obligation and in ordering him to reimburse Carver County for the mother's travel expenses. We affirm.
F A C T S
Respondent Cynthia Duncan gave birth to a son in the state of Virginia. Duncan filed a support action in Virginia. Pursuant to the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA), the Virginia court sent Duncan's petition to Minnesota where respondent Carver County initiated a paternity and support action against appellant Michael Delbow. Duncan received public assistance throughout the paternity and support proceedings.
Blood tests indicated there is a 99.39% probability that Delbow is the father of Duncan's son. The county notified Delbow that if it became necessary to try the issue of paternity, it would seek to recover from him the cost of bringing Duncan to Minnesota to testify. Delbow orally told the county that he would stipulate to paternity, but the stipulation that Delbow prepared included provisions regarding other disputed matters. Delbow never drafted a stipulation limited to the paternity issue. The county paid for Duncan to travel to Minnesota to testify at trial. On the day of trial, however, Delbow stipulated to paternity.
The district court found that Delbow's net income was $1,069.46 per month and applied the child support guidelines to this income to set Delbow's support obligation at $267.33 per month. The court also awarded the county judgment against Delbow for $1,436.78 in trial costs, which included $957.88 that the county spent to bring Duncan to Minnesota. The court held that Virginia courts had jurisdiction over custody and visitation.
D E C I S I O N
Delbow retained the attorney who represented him on appeal after the time for filing posttrial motions had expired.
Erickson v. Erickson
, 434 N.W.2d 284, 286 (Minn. App. 1989).
On appeal from a judgment where there has been no motion for new trial, the only questions for review are whether the evidence sustains the findings of fact and whether such findings sustain the conclusions of law.
1. The guidelines in Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b), shall be used in all cases to establish child support. Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i) (Supp. 1995);
Minn. Stat. § 257.66, subd. 3 (1994) (in paternity action, matters other than custody and visitation shall be determined in accordance with chapter 518); Minn. Stat. § 518C.17, subd. 1 (1992) (in RURESA action, "court shall order support payments under chapter 518"). A support determination will not be reversed on appeal absent a clear abuse of discretion.
Franzen v. Borders
, 521 N.W.2d 626, 628 (Minn. App. 1994).
Delbow argues the district court abused its discretion in setting his support obligation by failing to consider and to make specific findings on his visitation expenses. Because the district court did not deviate from the guidelines in setting support, however, it was not required to make specific findings regarding Delbow's visitation expenses.
Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i) (when court does not deviate from guidelines in setting support, it must make written findings only on amount of income used as basis for guidelines calculation and on any other significant evidentiary factors affecting support determination). In this case, the district court made the findings required by Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i), to support its decision.
Further, because Duncan received public assistance throughout these proceedings, the district court could not deviate downward from the guidelines in setting support unless it found that failure to do so would impose extreme hardship on Delbow.
Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(j) (Supp. 1995) (when support payments are assigned to public agency under Minn. Stat. § 256.74, court may not deviate downward from guidelines unless it specifically finds that failure to do so would impose extreme hardship on obligor); Minn. Stat. § 256.74, subd. 5 (1994) (person who receives public assistance is considered to have assigned right to receive child support to public support enforcement agency).
Delbow never specifically argued to the district court that failure to deviate from the guidelines in setting support would cause him extreme hardship.
See Thiele v. Stich
, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (appellate court will not address issue not presented to and decided by district court). In any event, the evidence Delbow submitted to the district court showing that his net income was $1,069.46 per month and his expenses were $1,040 per month does not support the conclusion that failure to deviate downward from the guidelines in setting support would impose extreme hardship on him. The district court did not abuse its discretion in setting Delbow's support obligation.
2. Minn. Stat. § 257.69, subd. 2 (Supp. 1995) provides that in a paternity action,
An award of trial costs will not be reversed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion.
J.L.B. v. T.E.B.
, 474 N.W.2d 599, 605 (Minn. App. 1991),
(Minn. Oct. 11, 1991).
[t]he court may order expert witness and guardian ad litem fees and other costs of the trial and pretrial proceedings, including appropriate tests, to be paid by the parties in proportions and at times determined by the court.
Delbow argues that because he told the county that he would stipulate to paternity and the record showed that he did not have the ability to pay for Duncan's travel expenses, the district court abused its discretion in ordering him to reimburse the county for those costs. We disagree. Although Delbow said he was willing to stipulate to paternity, he never prepared a stipulation limited to that issue. Absent such a stipulation, the county had to be prepared to prove paternity at trial by producing Duncan to testify and, therefore, had to incur the costs of bringing her to Minnesota. Further, Minn. Stat. § 257.69, subd. 2, does not require the district court to consider a party's ability to pay before ordering that party to pay trial costs. Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the county judgment against Delbow for the cost of bringing Duncan to Minnesota.
At oral argument, Delbow waived his argument regarding the propriety of the past support award. Thus, we will not address this issue.
Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.