may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ronald Thomas Haus, petitioner,
Janice Marie Haus,
Filed June 16, 1998
Polk County District Court
File No. F2951147
Terry Graff, 1330 Page Drive S.W., Suite 202C, Fargo, ND 58103 (for appellant)
Timothy W. McCann, Lindquist, Jeffrey & Jensen, 306 American Federal Building, 124 DeMers Avenue N.W., East Grand Forks, MN 56721 (for respondent Janice Haus)
Nancy Kloster, Polk County Attorney's Office, 223 East Seventh Street, #101, Crookston, MN 56716 (for respondent Polk County Child Support Unit)
*Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Schultz, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant contests the order of an administrative law judge (ALJ) denying his motion to modify child support. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
This court reviews an ALJ's determination as it would a district court's judgment. Lee v. Lee, 459 N.W.2d 365, 368-69 (Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Oct. 18, 1990). A district court's refusal to modify child support will not be reversed absent proof it abused its broad discretion by reaching "a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record." Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984); Erlandson v. Erlandson, 318 N.W.2d 36, 38 (Minn. 1982).
The terms of an order respecting maintenance or support may be modified upon a showing of one or more of the following: (1) substantially increased or decreased earnings of a party; (2) substantially increased or decreased need of a party or the child or children that are the subject of these proceedings * * *.
Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 1997).
Appellant Ronald Thomas Haus moved to reduce his existing child support obligation of $600 per month (based on imputed monthly income of $2,000) to $140 per month. An ALJ denied appellant's motion, finding that
[t]he evidence presented by the obligor in support of his motion does not establish either a substantial decrease in his earnings or earning ability * * *. No evidence has been presented which indicates a substantial decrease in the needs of the obligee and the parties' children.
The ALJ's conclusion is supported by the facts in the record. While appellant provided evidence that his net monthly income is now only $697, he did not show that his income has substantially decreased since the date of the existing order. In fact, appellant admitted at the hearing that he now earns more than he did at that time.
Appellant also failed to show a substantial reduction in his earning capacity. In the amended judgment and decree that set appellant's child support obligation, the district court was forced to impute to appellant income of $2,000 per month. Before the parties' divorce, appellant owned a successful apparel business. After the divorce, he transferred that business to a friend for no consideration. Appellant, who has a college degree in business administration and more than 30 years of work experience, is now employed as a laborer. The ALJ did not abuse its discretion by concluding that appellant's capacity to earn the amount of income imputed in the original judgment and decree remains undiminished.
Further, appellant has not shown that the financial needs of the parties' minor children have decreased substantially. The record shows that, even with appellant's present child support obligation, appellant's former wife does not have sufficient income to meet monthly expenses for herself and the parties' children. In light of the facts in this record, we cannot say that the ALJ's decision to deny appellant's motion was an abuse of discretion.