This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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




In Re the Marriage of:

Stephanie Jo Swanson, petitioner,



Terrance P. Swanson,


Filed February 25, 1997

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

Willis, Judge

Dakota County District Court

File No. F6949353

Thomas W. Pugh, Thuet, Pugh, Rogosheske & Atkins, Ltd., 833 Southview Boulevard, South Saint Paul, MN 55075 (for Respondent)

Thomas P. Lowe, Lofstrom & Lowe, P.A., 4635 Nicols Road, Suite 206, Eagan, MN 55122 (for Appellant)

Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.



Appellant Terrance Swanson challenges the district court's award of permanent maintenance, arguing that the district court's findings do not support the award of permanent maintenance and that the record does not support the amount of the award. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.


Terrance Swanson (husband) and respondent Stephanie Swanson (wife) were married on November 6, 1976, and their marriage was dissolved on May 2, 1996. The parties were unable to stipulate to three issues, including spousal maintenance. The district court found that husband's monthly net income was approximately $5600[1] and that wife's monthly net income was approximately $2290. The parties were awarded joint legal custody of their three children, with physical custody awarded to wife. The court found that the reasonable monthly expenses of wife and the children were $4500. Husband agreed to pay monthly child support of $1,863.76. The district court ordered permanent spousal maintenance in the amount of $1200 per month. Husband appeals the district court's decision regarding spousal maintenance.


On appeal from a maintenance award, this court determines whether the district court abused its wide discretion. Erlandson v. Erlandson, 318 N.W.2d 36, 38 (Minn. 1982). "There must be a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record before this court will find that the [district] court abused its discretion." Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984).

Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 1 (1996), provides that

the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:

(a) lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for reasonable needs of the spouse considering the standard of living established during the marriage, especially, but not limited to, a period of training or education, or

(b) is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.

The statute lists eight factors to be considered by a district court in determining the amount and term of maintenance: (1) the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance; (2) the probability that the party seeking maintenance will complete education or training and become self-supporting; (3) the standard of living established during the marriage; (4) the length of the marriage and any absences from employment during which the earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance has diminished; (5) loss by the spouse seeking maintenance of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, or other employment opportunities; (6) the age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; (7) the financial resources of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought; and (8) the contribution of each party to the marital property. Id., subd. 2 (1996).

1. Permanent Maintenance Award

Husband argues that the district court abused its discretion in awarding permanent maintenance to wife because the findings were not sufficient to support its conclusion. A district court's findings must be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate that it considered all factors relevant to a permanent maintenance award. Stich v. Stich, 435 N.W.2d 52, 53 (Minn. 1989). But "[f]indings are not required on each factor considered." Justis v. Justis, 384 N.W.2d 885, 891 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. May 29, 1986).

Here, the district court made findings on the parties' financial conditions and on other factors, including wife's employment background and the length of the marriage. Further, there was information before the court regarding other statutory factors, including wife's statements that she was fully trained in her field, but nevertheless had no foreseeable prospect of becoming fully self-supporting, and that interruptions in her career to care for the children resulted in a diminution of her earnings and retirement benefits.

Section 518.552 was amended in 1985 and now provides that

[w]here there is some uncertainty as to the necessity of a permanent award, the court shall order a permanent award leaving its order open for later modification.

Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 3 (1996).

Because (1) the district court made findings on relevant statutory factors, (2) the record contains information regarding other statutory factors, and (3) where there is uncertainty the statute requires an award of permanent maintenance, the district court's conclusion that wife needed permanent maintenance was not an abuse of its wide discretion.

2. Amount of the Award

Husband argues that the district court abused its discretion in determining the amount of the maintenance award. The district court found wife's estimate that she needed $7,078.50 monthly to maintain the marital standard of living was "grossly overstated, misleading, and not supported by the evidence." The court found that the "reasonable monthly expenses" for wife and the children are $4500 and that wife's monthly income, including child support, is $4,153.76. The court awarded wife $1200 per month in permanent maintenance.

The essential considerations in determining the amount of a maintenance award are the need of the receiving spouse and the ability of the providing spouse to meet that need. Novick v. Novick, 366 N.W.2d 330, 334 (Minn. App. 1985). The district court should also consider the marital standard of living in determining the appropriate amount of a maintenance award. Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 2(c); see also Rosenberg v. Rosenberg, 379 N.W.2d 580, 586 (Minn. App. 1985) (concluding that "a spouse in the position of appellant, who enjoyed an affluent lifestyle during her marriage, cannot now be forced to subsist at a survival level"), review denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1986).

Although the district court stated that wife needed permanent maintenance "to maintain a standard of living consistent with the parties' standard of living enjoyed during the marriage," the record does not show how the court arrived at the monthly expense figure of $4500 or whether $4500 monthly is needed to maintain the marital standard of living or to cover only necessities. If $4500 represents only necessities, then $1200 per month in maintenance may not be excessive. If, however, the $4500 figure represents the district court's calculation of what wife and the children need to maintain the marital standard of living, then a maintenance award that brings wife's monthly income to significantly more than $4500 may be an abuse of discretion.

We affirm the district court's decision to award permanent maintenance, but reverse the amount of the award and remand to the district court for review and explanation.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

[ ]1This amount appears to have been determined from husband's salary income from National Fleet Network. Husband also receives dividend income from National Fleet Network and additional income from TDA and Associates.