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:
Angeline P. Hill,
k/n/a Angeline P. Judd, petitioner,
Edward J. Hill,
Filed August 12, 1997
Isanti County District Court
File No. F7-91-180
Steven A. Sicheneder, Tennis, Sicheneder & Collins, P.A., 20 North Lake Street, Ste. 202, Forest Lake, MN 55025 (for appellant)
Douglas G. Sauter, Douglas G. Sauter & Assocs., P.A., 199 Coon Rapids Blvd., Ste. 108, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Appellant contends that the district court lacked jurisdiction to modify the parties' marriage dissolution judgment and that even if the district court had jurisdiction, it erred by amending the judgment without making requisite fact findings. We affirm.
In October 1996, respondent moved to amend the judgment to require that appellant choose a pension payment plan designated as Life Plan E-2, which would provide her with 50% survivorship benefits. At the same time, appellant moved to amend the judgment to authorize his selection of Life Plan E-1, which would provide respondent with 100% survivorship benefits. The district court amended the judgment designating Life Plan E-2 as the payment option. This appeal followed.
Although appellant requested that the district court amend the judgment, he argues on appeal that the district court lacked jurisdiction to do so. Appellant argues that, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(d) (1996), property divisions are final and may not be modified except upon a showing of fraud or mistake. Kerr v. Kerr, 309 Minn. 124, 126, 243 N.W.2d 313, 314 (1976). The district court may "divide the pension either at the time of dissolution ('present cash method') or at the time pension payments commence ('reserved jurisdiction method')." McGowan v. McGowan, 363 N.W.2d 359, 361 (Minn. App. 1985). "Although a property division is normally considered final, Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(d), an equal division may be finalized later when the original judgment makes no lump sum award." McGowan v. McGowan, 532 N.W.2d 258, 260 (Minn. App. 1995) (citations omitted).
Here, the district court employed the "reserved jurisdiction method" in establishing the parties' respective interests in appellant's pension plan. The judgment specifically provides that the district court retains jurisdiction to administer the pension distribution provision. Because the amendment at issue did not alter the essential provisions of the judgment or affect the substantive rights of the parties, the district court retained jurisdiction to amend the judgment. See id. (upholding modification of original pension award where after modification both parties were "still entitled to one[-]half of the marital portion of the pension just as anticipated by the original decree").
2. Findings of Fact
Appellant argues that a remand is necessary because the district court erred by failing to make specific findings to justify its selection of Life Plan E-2 as the payment option. The district court rendered its decision based on the parties' affidavits and arguments presented at a motion hearing. The parties did not obtain a transcript of the motion hearing for our review. Beyond indicating their respective option preferences, the parties' affidavits do not present evidence supporting the selection of a particular option; nor does appellant point to any record evidence supporting his assertion that the district court's selection of Life Plan E-2 was erroneous. Moreover, appellant has identified no error or prejudice resulting from the district court's failure to make specific findings. We therefore conclude that a remand for findings of fact would serve no useful purpose. See Nelson v. Nelson, 291 Minn. 496, 497, 189 N.W.2d 413, 415 (1971) (appellant's complaint that district court failed to make specific findings could not be brought on appeal where "no sound purpose would be served by a remand for a more detailed finding") (quoting Kendall v. Kendall, 289 Minn. 494, 494, 181 N.W.2d 894, 895 (1970)); see also Minn. R. Civ. P. 61 (harmless error rule).