may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Mark Allen Fedor, petitioner,
Denise Russell Fedor,
Filed March 25, 1997
Anoka County District Court
File No. F1921225
Jane E. Brooks, Brooks Law Office, 1080 West County Road D, Shoreview, MN 55126 (for appellant)
John R. Kempe, McCullough, Smith & Wright, P.A., Maple Hills Office Center, 905 Parkway Drive, St. Paul, MN 55106 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Huspeni, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.
Appellant Mark Fedor contests the trial court's denial of his motion for "reconsideration" and the court's judgment and decree dissolving his marriage to respondent Denise Fedor. Because the trial court did not err in awarding nonmarital assets and in distributing the dissolution property, we affirm.
1. Nonmarital Property Claims
Appellant contends the trial court erred in failing to award him certain items of nonmarital property. An appellate court will not disturb a trial court's finding on the nonmarital status of dissolution property unless it is clearly erroneous. See Kottke v. Kottke, 353 N.W.2d 633, 636 (Minn. App. 1984), review denied (Minn. Dec. 20, 1984). Property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is presumed to be marital. Minn. Stat. § 518.54, subd. 5 (1996). Nonmarital property includes property acquired by a spouse as a gift, acquired before the marriage, or acquired in exchange for nonmarital property. Id. A mere claim of nonmarital status is not enough; the claimant must establish its nonmarital character by a preponderance of the evidence. Kottke, 353 N.W.2d at 636.
The trial court found appellant had two items of nonmarital property, a 1961 Volkswagen and a "parts cleaner." Appellant claims the trial court erred in failing to find other items nonmarital. The record indicates that he offered little evidence at trial, beyond his own assertions, indicating that these items were nonmarital. We find no error in the trial court's determination that appellant failed to rebut the presumption that the other items were marital property.
2. Distribution of Marital Property
Appellant contends the trial judge abused his discretion in distributing the marital property. A trial court has broad discretion in dividing property. Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). "There must be a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on the record before this court will find that the trial court abused its discretion." Id. An appellate court does not require the lower court to be exact in its valuation of assets; "it is only necessary that the value arrived at lies within a reasonable range of figures." Johnson v. Johnson, 277 N.W.2d 208, 211 (Minn. 1979).
The trial judge awarded each party the personal property in his or her possession. The record contains testimony and exhibits regarding the value of the property held by each party. Based on the evidence presented, the trial judge's division is not clearly erroneous. We note that respondent conceded that the safe belongs to appellant. We believe that the decree awarded this item to appellant as personal property remaining at the homestead. While the language of the order was fairly general and the trial judge appears to have relied too heavily on the common sense of the parties to exchange the property amicably, we see no error in the personal property award.
The trial judge ordered the remaining marital property, mainly auto parts and vehicles on the homestead lot, to be sold and the proceeds divided. This order was adequate and sensible for the parties in this case. We affirm the distribution of property.
If appellant wishes to seek the court's assistance in enforcing the order to obtain his items of personal property remaining at the homestead, he must bring a separate motion. See Hanson v. Hanson, 379 N.W.2d 230, 233 (Minn. App. 1985) (authorizing district court to implement and clarify dissolution decrees). Such a request, however, does not open the matter for relitigation of issues decided in the dissolution judgment. We cannot help but observe that the expense of extended litigation might well exceed the value of the goods involved. Only well-focused and specific motion practice can avoid such a grievous outcome.
[ ]1 Appellant erroneously attempted to have the trial court review items submitted during the post-trial hearing but not part of the trial record. See Rathbun v. W.T. Grant Co., 300 Minn. 223, 238, 219 N.W.2d 641, 651 (1974) (trial court may not go outside record and consider new evidence when considering motion for amended findings).