This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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




Jerilynn E. Rolbiecki, petitioner,



Roger G. Rolbiecki,


Filed May 20, 1997


Short, Judge

Ramsey County District Court

File No. DMF8902575

Jerilynn E. Rolbiecki, 4853 Countryside Drive, Shoreview, MN 55126 (pro se respondent)

Roger G. Rolbiecki, 1041 Amble Road, Shoreview, MN 55126 (pro se appellant)

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.


SHORT, Judge

On appeal from an order increasing his child support obligation and requiring him to pay child care expenses, Roger G. Rolbiecki argues the administrative law judge erred by: (1) improperly factoring Rolbiecki's 1995 salary bonus into the requisite support calculations; (2) overestimating his current investment income; and (3) determining his child care expense contribution based on an allegedly "hypothetical" formula. We affirm.


Subject to certain limitations, an administrative law judge (ALJ) has the same power as a trial court in modifying child support obligations. Minn. Stat. § 518.5511, subd. 1(e) (1996). An ALJ is afforded broad discretion in child support cases, and we must affirm an administrative decision absent a clear abuse of that discretion. See id., subd. 4(h) (providing decisions of ALJ are appealable in same manner as decisions of trial court); Lee v. Lee, 459 N.W.2d 365, 368-69 (Minn. App. 1990) (stating trial court standards of review are applicable to review of ALJ's order), review denied (Minn. Oct. 18, 1990); Reck v. Reck, 346 N.W.2d 675, 677 (Minn. App. 1984) (citing Peterson v. Peterson, 304 Minn. 578, 580, 231 N.W.2d 85, 86 (1975), and noting trial courts are afforded broad discretion in child support cases), review denied (Minn. Apr. 25, 1984).

When establishing or modifying child support, courts must first determine the obligor's current net income and then calculate the appropriate child support due under the statutory child support guidelines. See generally Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd 5(b) (1996) (setting forth guidelines); see also Buntje v. Buntje, 511 N.W.2d 479, 481 (Minn. App. 1994) (applying child support guidelines in support modification case). Rolbiecki argues the trial court erred in basing his support obligation on a net income determination inclusive of his 1995 salary bonus. We disagree. While Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b), provides that net income does not include "compensation received by a party for employment in excess of a 40-hour work week * * *," such compensation is excludible only if it is in "the nature of additional, part-time or overtime employment compensable by the hour or fraction of an hour." Id. Additionally, the obligor cannot have changed his compensation structure for the purpose of affecting a support obligation. Id.

There is no evidence that the salary bonus Rolbiecki earned was compensable by the hour or fraction of the hour. Rolbiecki's paychecks reveal he was paid on a salary basis and his bonus income increased greatly over the past three years. In addition, Rolbiecki's testimony suggests he restructured his compensation package to avoid an increase in child support payments. Given this record, we cannot say the ALJ erred in factoring Rolbiecki's 1995 salary bonus into his net income.

Rolbiecki also argues the ALJ improperly estimated his current investment income for purposes of determining his net income. However, Rolbiecki refused to supply the ALJ with current tax returns and also failed to provide specific requested information concerning his current investment income or expenses. Although Rolbiecki submitted affidavits disclosing certain financial information, the ALJ chose to rely on Rolbiecki's 1993 tax return as a more accurate basis for determination of his current investment income. Given Rolbiecki's lack of cooperation and disclosure, the ALJ did not err in estimating Rolbiecki's current investment income based on his 1993 tax return. See General v. General, 409 N.W.2d 511, 513 (Minn. App. 1987) (noting appellate court must defer to fact-finder's assessment of witness credibility and weight to be given witness's testimony); Taflin v. Taflin, 366 N.W.2d 315, 319 (Minn. App. 1985) (noting support obligor "will not be heard to complain" when financial information produced by obligor had significant omissions).

Rolbiecki further argues the ALJ erred in determining his child care expense obligation based on an allegedly "hypothetical" formula. We disagree. A trial court must allocate day care costs to both parents in proportion to each parent's net income after the payment of child support, unless the allocation would be substantially unfair. Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b). The record demonstrates the ALJ: (1) used the day care center's base weekly rate of $65 to calculate a total yearly expense, while considering school and vacation days; (2) declined to factor into the calculation the mother's estimated overnight business trips because she had yet to take such a trip; (3) subtracted 25% of the gross annual child care costs to compensate for the amount of federal and state credits available to the mother; and (4) set out the calculation formula and final numbers in the final order. Based on the day care calculations and the parties' respective net incomes, the ALJ established Rolbiecki's child care expense contribution at $121 per month and the mother's contribution at $136.50. Given this record, the child care allocation is not substantially unfair. Therefore, the trial court did not err in calculating Rolbiecki's child care obligation.