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:
Stephen R. Van Drake, petitioner,
Mary Jo Hultgren, f.k.a. Mary Jo Van Drake,
Filed April 29, 1997
Todd County District Court
File No. F390633
Stephen R. Van Drake, 2011 South Sixth Street, Brainerd, MN 56401 (Appellant Attorney Pro Se)
Douglas P. Anderson, Rosenmeier, Anderson & Vogel, 210 Second Street Northeast, Little Falls, MN 56345 (for Respondent)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Norton, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.
Appellant Stephen Van Drake challenges a district court's denial of his motion for a modification of spousal maintenance. Appellant argues the court abused its discretion in determining appellant failed to meet his burden of proving a substantial change in circumstances that makes his maintenance obligation unfair. We affirm.
[t]he statute requires the party requesting modification to demonstrate both a substantial change in circumstances and unfairness of the existing obligation as a result of that change.
Tuthill v. Tuthill, 399 N.W.2d 230, 232 (Minn. App. 1987). In addition, the party must present "clear proof of facts showing a substantial change of circumstances." Id. (quoting Wiese v. Wiese, 295 N.W.2d 371, 372 (Minn. 1980). In reviewing a district court's maintenance determination, even where the appellate court would have ruled otherwise had it been the district court, the district court's decision will be affirmed as long as it has an acceptable basis in fact and principle. Rohling v. Rohling, 379 N.W.2d 519, 524 (Minn. 1986).
Here, appellant moved for reduction or termination of his maintenance obligation, claiming substantially decreased income and assets and substantially increased expenses and debts. In denying his motion, the district court stated:
Petitioner submitted voluminous raw data regarding the financial condition and expenses of himself and his firm, but neither party called an accountant or other expert to interpret the data provided. Though Petitioner has the burden of proving his alleged decreased income or earning capacity, and he has access to all information required for the same, he did not submit his 1995 personal income tax returns as evidence, indicating that he had received extensions and they were not yet available. Further, he provided only minimal information as to his or his firm's 1995 and 1996 income, and nothing as to accounts receivable or work in progress at his law firm. * * * Petitioner provided substantial information as to his failure to pay various debts, and while that may be probative of reduced income, it is insufficient to establish inability to pay, without further information as to work in process and the firm's budget or business plan. Omission from the record of this additional information makes it impossible for him to meet his burden of proving his claims by credible, understandable evidence.
This court, in Tuthill, was presented with a situation where an ex-husband sought modification of maintenance based on claimed large debts. The ex-husband, however, like here, failed to provide documentation for all of these claimed debts. Tuthill, 399 N.W.2d at 231. In affirming the district court's decision that the ex-husband had failed to show that there had been a substantial change in circumstances, this court stated:
We acknowledge that the finding does not include a detailed analysis of [the ex-husband's] financial condition. However, he has failed to present a complete picture of his assets and debts making such findings impossible. As we have previously stated, this court will not speculate, and the appellant cannot complain where inadequate documentation leads at least in part to the trial court's refusal to modify a decree.
Id. at 232 (citing Taflin v. Taflin, 366 N.W.2d 315, 319 (Minn. App. 1985)).
While a substantial change in appellant's financial condition may have occurred that now makes his current maintenance obligation unfair, because appellant failed to provide adequate financial documentation, he cannot complain about the district court's refusal to modify his maintenance obligation. Adequate documentation is not voluminous raw data presented in an unintelligible manner. Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining appellant failed to prove a substantial change in circumstances.
[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.