This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




Lorrie Lynn Rinn, petitioner,



Clay Alan Rinn,


Filed December 17, 1996


Davies, Judge

Winona County District Court

File No. F589495

Quentin R. Wittrock, Jonathan M. Redgrave, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., 3400 City Center, 33 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Appellant)

Judy M. Gernander, 111 Riverfront, Suite 203, Winona, MN 55987 (for Respondent)

Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Davies, Judge.



On a second appeal, after remand, appellant-mother claims the ALJ erred by failing to make findings of fact and by failing to address whether father self-limited his income. We affirm.


A 1990 judgment dissolved the marriage of appellant-mother Lorrie Lynn Rinn and respondent-father Clay Alan Rinn, awarded mother custody of the parties' children, set father's support obligation, and abated that obligation during father's seasonal unemployment. A stipulated 1994 order increased support but did not address whether the seasonal abatement should continue. Father later sought reduced support during his seasonal unemployment. The administrative law judge (ALJ) found that the stipulation "overlooked" father's seasonal unemployment and, consistent with the original judgment, reduced the support obligation during those periods.

On mother's appeal, this court remanded for the ALJ to address whether the 1994 stipulation should be vacated under Minn. Stat. § 518.145 for mistake and whether the parties, when they entered that stipulation, had a meeting of the minds. Rinn v. Rinn, No. C9-95-678 (Minn. App. Oct. 17, 1995) (Rinn I). This court also gave the ALJ discretion to address whether father self-limited his income. Id.

On remand, the ALJ vacated the stipulation, finding that the parties lacked a meeting of the minds when they entered the stipulation and that it had been based on a mistake. The ALJ set support during father's seasonal unemployment at the guideline amount for his unemployment benefits. Mother again appeals.


Motions to modify child support are special proceedings and new trial motions are neither authorized nor necessary to preserve issues for appeal. Huso v. Huso, 465 N.W.2d 719, 720-21 (Minn. App. 1991). Labeling a finding of fact as a conclusion of law does not preclude the conclusion from being reviewed as a finding of fact. Bissell v. Bissell, 291 Minn. 348, 351-52 n.1, 191 N.W.2d 425, 427 n.1 (1971).

I. Vacation of Judgment

It is discretionary with the district court whether to vacate a stipulated judgment under Minn. Stat. § 518.145 for mistake or for a lack of a meeting of the minds. See Kornberg v. Kornberg, 542 N.W.2d 379, 386-87 (Minn. 1996) (mistake); Ryan v. Ryan, 292 Minn. 52, 55, 193 N.W.2d 295, 297 (1971) (lack of a meeting of minds). In Kornberg, a district judge had vacated a stipulated judgment, finding that a mistake prevented a meeting of the minds. A successor judge reinstated the judgment, however, finding that the provision in question was reached by agreement, that each party was represented by counsel during extensive negotiations, and that the provision in question "anticipated" the contingency on which the motion to vacate was based. Id. at 387. The supreme court ruled that these findings were "not clearly erroneous" and that the successor judge "did not abuse his discretion in denying [the] motion to reopen." Id.

Here, the ALJ found that father's counsel was not involved in the negotiations, that father's unemployment and the impact it should have on his support obligation were not discussed, and that the parties consequently lacked a meeting of the minds. Unless it is clearly erroneous, we will not set aside the ALJ's finding that the parties failed through mistake to reach a meeting of the minds. See Roberge v. Cambridge Coop. Creamery, 248 Minn. 184, 196, 79 N.W.2d 142, 150 (Minn. 1956) (existence of meeting of minds is fact question); Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 (findings of fact not set aside unless clearly erroneous). Here, because the record supports the critical findings, they are not clearly erroneous.

The ALJ also stated that, because the stipulation was not based on accurate information concerning father's income, it was "impossible" to determine whether the stipulation was fair to the children and the parties. A support obligation must be fair to the children. See Tammen v. Tammen, 289 Minn. 28, 30, 182 N.W.2d 840, 842 (1970) (regardless of parents' stipulation on support, court's "paramount consideration" is children's welfare). Given the parties' mistake, leading to a failure to reach a meeting of the minds, and because the support ordered may be unfair to the children, the ALJ did not abuse his discretion by vacating the stipulation.

II. Findings

Mother claims that the ALJ erred by not making findings under Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2, particularly findings regarding the children's needs. The ALJ ruled, however, that the support award "fairly reflects the needs and financial circumstances of all parties and is based upon a consideration of the [statutory factors]." Further, 1991 amendments to the child support statutes replaced the Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2, requirement that the court "address" the needs of the children with a requirement that the court "apply" Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5. 1991 Minn. Laws ch. 292, art. 5, § 79, now codified at Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(b)(1) (Supp. 1995). An amendment to Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5, limited the requirement of findings--when guideline support is awarded--to a finding of the support obligor's income and "other significant evidentiary factors affecting the determination of child support." 1991 Minn. Laws ch. 292, art. 5, § 75, now codified at Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i) (Supp. 1995). Here, because the ALJ addressed father's income and set his support obligation at the guideline level, the support award is not defective for lack of findings. The cases mother cites to the contrary are clearly distinguishable.

Mother also claims that the ALJ could not have considered the statutory factors because the record lacks evidence on them. See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(c) (Supp. 1995) (listing factors to be considered in setting support); Nazar v. Nazar, 505 N.W.2d 628, 634 (Minn. App. 1993) (when awarding support, "trial court must consider the statutory guidelines and [the statutory factors]"), review denied (Minn. Oct. 28, 1993). But in ruling that the support obligation fairly reflected the needs of all parties, the ALJ referred to a "rebuttable presumption that the guidelines shall be applied" and otherwise indicated that he was aware that other information could be considered in setting support. Mother did not provide such other information. Generally, a party's failure to provide relevant evidence precludes that party from complaining about a district court's or ALJ's failure to make findings addressing the missing information. Taflin v. Taflin, 366 N.W.2d 315, 319 (Minn. App. 1985).

Mother next claims that the ALJ annualized father's income before setting the support obligation and that the reduction of the obligation during father's unemployment periods thus had the effect of accounting for reduced income twice. Review of the figures indicates, though, that the ALJ did not annualize father's income before setting his support obligation.

III. Self-Limited Income

Mother claims that the ALJ erred by reducing father's child support obligation without addressing whether father self-limited his income. We disagree. Rinn I gave the ALJ discretion to address or not address that issue. On remand, mother's attorney told the ALJ that self-limitation of father's income "won't be an issue" and, consequently, neither father nor the ALJ addressed it. Mother's current attempt to argue the issue is improper. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (appellate courts do not address issues not presented to and considered by district court).