Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Susan E. Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Theresa J. Walton, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney, 50 W. Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 560, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Thomas B. James, Law Office of Thomas B. James, 440 North Broadway Avenue, Cokato, MN 55321 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
This case involves a motion for forgiveness of child support arrearages, brought over 8 years after final judgment was entered. On appeal from an order denying relief, Matthew Belille argues the administrative law judge erred by (1) applying the pre-1987 child support modification standard, and (2) applying Rule 60 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure to his motion for forgiveness of arrears. We affirm.
Belille argues the ALJ erred by applying the pre-1987 child modification standard to his motion for forgiveness of arrearages. We disagree. Child support is modified pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 518.64. Heaton v. Heaton, 329 N.W.2d 553, 554 (Minn. 1983). The forgiveness of arrearage is analyzed as a retroactive modification under Minn. Stat. § 518.64. Bruner v. Bruner, 429 N.W.2d 679, 682 (Minn. App. 1988), review denied (Minn. Nov. 30, 1988). Under both the pre-1987 and post-1987 child modification statutes, child support may be modified only upon a showing of substantially changed circumstances that make the terms of the prior order unreasonable and unfair. See Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2 (1996) (holding terms of decree respecting child support may be modified upon showing change in circumstances making terms of child support unreasonable and unfair or upon showing of extraordinary medical expenses of child not provided for under section 518.171; or addition of work-related or education-related child care expenses of obligee or substantial increase or decrease in existing work-related or education-related child care expenses); Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2 (1986) (holding terms of decree respecting child support may be modified upon showing change in circumstances making terms of child support unreasonable and unfair).
The ALJ found the testimony and documentary evidence presented by Belille insufficient to establish his inability to pay child support. The record demonstrates: (1) Belille's relevant testimony was vague and uncertain; (2) Belille failed to document his income from 1980 to 1987; (3) Belille worked as a truck driver for 25 years (until 1988); and (4) Belille is currently employed and receives social security. Under these circumstances, we cannot say the ALJ abused his discretion in denying Belille's motion for retroactive modification of child support. See Heaton, 329 N.W.2d at 554 (holding party seeking modification must show support terms are unreasonable and unfair). Because we conclude Belille failed to show his support terms are unreasonable and unfair, we need not address his Rule 60 argument.