This opinion will be unpublished and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:

Roger Leroy Broitzman, petitioner,



Karen Kay Broitzman,


Filed May 20, 1997


Kalitowski, Judge

Freeborn County District Court

File No. F189811

George F. Restovich, Bruce K. Piotrowski, George F. Restovich & Associates, 117 East Center Street, Rochester, MN 55904 (for Respondent)

James J. Schlichting, Peterson, Savelkoul, Schlichting & Davies, Ltd., 211 South Newton, Albert Lea, MN 56007 (for Appellant)

Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.[*]



Appellant Karen Broitzman challenges the district court's modification of her maintenance award, claiming the district court abused its discretion in not increasing her award by a greater amount. Respondent contends the district court abused its discretion in not finding a substantial change in circumstances on a subsequent motion for modification. We affirm.


The district court has broad discretion in awarding spousal maintenance and its determination will not be disturbed on review unless the court abused its discretion. Bourassa v. Bourassa, 481 N.W.2d 113, 114-15 (Minn. App. 1992). A court has not abused its discretion if its determinations have an acceptable and reasonable basis in fact. Bliss v. Bliss, 493 N.W.2d 583, 586 (Minn. App. 1992).

Likewise, unless the district court's findings related to an award of maintenance are clearly erroneous, they will not be disturbed. Bourassa, 481 N.W.2d at 115. A finding is clearly erroneous if it is manifestly contrary to the weight of the evidence or not reasonably supported by the evidence as a whole. Pedro v. Pedro, 489 N.W.2d 798, 801 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. Oct. 20, 1992). "There must be a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record before this court will find that the trial court abused its discretion." Maeder v. Maeder, 480 N.W.2d 677, 679 (Minn. App. 1992) (citation omitted).


A court may modify spousal maintenance upon a showing of substantially increased or decreased earnings or needs of the parties that makes the terms of the original decree unreasonable and unfair. Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(a) (1996). Once the court finds that a modification is appropriate, it must determine the appropriate amount of the award by applying the factors set out in Minn. Stat. § 518.552. Id., subd. 2(b); Maeder, 480 N.W.2d at 679. While section 518.552 contains several factors,

[t]he essential consideration in the award of maintenance is the financial need of the party receiving maintenance and his or her ability to meet that need balanced against the financial condition of the spouse providing the maintenance.

Maeder, 480 N.W.2d at 679 (citing Novick v Novick, 366 N.W.2d 330, 334 (Minn. App. 1985)).

Neither party disputes the district court's determination in its October 14, 1996, order that there had been a substantial change in circumstances since the original decree that made the terms of the signed decree unfair. Appellant, however, claims the district court erred in not awarding her a larger increase in maintenance. We disagree.

The district court increased appellant's maintenance from $578 to $678 based on its findings: (1) appellant's reasonable monthly expenses are $2,000; (2) respondent's reasonable monthly expenses are $1,300; (3) appellant's monthly income is approximately $1,000; and (4) respondent's monthly income is $3,315. These findings are supported by the record.

Although, based on the district court's findings, appellant has a shortfall of $322, appellant's need must be balanced against respondent's ability to pay. Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 2(g) (1996). In addition to his monthly expenses, respondent is required to pay $887 in interest and $417 in principal to appellant per month. Therefore, the district court's finding that respondent only has the ability to pay an additional $100 is supported by the record. Because the district court's determination is not against logic and the facts on record, the court did not abuse its discretion in increasing appellant's maintenance award by $100.


To be entitled to modification of a maintenance award,

[t]he statue 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) (citation omitted). 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 might have reached a different conclusion, 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).

After the October 14, 1996, modification order, respondent moved for modification of his maintenance obligation, claiming that he has been informed by his employer that he will lose eight hours of overtime a week resulting in a $325 net loss of income per month. In support of his claim, respondent submitted a notarized note from his employer. The district court denied respondent's motion because the court "did not find the purported employer statement attached as Exhibit A to an affidavit of Roger Broitzman to be credible evidence." The court further stated, "In my experience, these types of statements, particularly when they are made prospectively, are self serving and extremely unreliable." We defer to the district court in determining credibility. General v. General, 409 N.W.2d 511, 513 (Minn. App. 1987). Therefore, we cannot say the court abused its discretion in denying respondent's motion.

Respondent also claimed his obligation should be modified because he forgot to include several farm expenses that would decrease his monthly farm income to $83.26. Respondent did not submit any documentation to support these claimed expenses.

This court, in Tuthill, stated that

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)).

Because respondent failed to provide adequate documentation to support his claims, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to modify his maintenance obligation.


[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.