This opinion will be unpublished and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:

Kimberly A. Bresnahan, petitioner,



Kevin W. Bresnahan,


Filed December 8, 1998

Affirmed as modified

Short, Judge

Scott County District Court

File No. F9615849

Daniel J. Goldberg, Messerli & Kramer, P.A., 1800 Fifth Street Towers, 150 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)

Christopher E. Morris, O'Neill, Traxler, Zard, Neisen & Morris, Ltd., 222 East Main Street, P.O. Box 105, New Prague, MN 56071 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Foley, Judge.[*]


SHORT, Judge

This appeal arises from a 1998 dissolution judgment that followed a 19-year marriage. Three months after the trial court filed supplemental findings of fact, conclusions of law, order for judgment and judgment and decree that addressed maintenance and property issues, it amended its findings in response to both parties' motion to amend and for a new trial. On appeal from the trial court's amended findings, Kevin Bresnahan argues the trial court: (1) abused its discretion in reserving jurisdiction over maintenance issues; (2) erred in its valuation of Dakota Liquors, Inc. and his marital interest in Dakota Partnership; and (3) erred in awarding attorney fees to his former spouse. Bresnahan's former spouse requests attorney fees on appeal. We affirm as modified.



Bresnahan argues the trial court abused its discretion in amending its supplemental findings to reserve jurisdiction over maintenance issues due to new information regarding his former spouse's medical condition. See Rathbun v. W.T. Grant Co., 300 Minn. 223, 238, 219 N.W.2d 641, 651 (1974) (holding court may not consider evidence outside record in considering motion for amended findings). However, we will not reverse a spousal maintenance order unless it embodies a clearly erroneous conclusion. Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984); Erlandson v. Erlandson, 318 N.W.2d 36, 38 (Minn. 1982).

The record demonstrates: (1) the trial court noted in its supplemental findings the latent medical condition of Bresnahan's former spouse and considered her able to work; (2) in a post-trial motion for amended findings and new trial, Bresnahan's former spouse asked the court to find her unable to work because of a recurrence of her condition; and (3) the trial court granted that motion to amend and found the former spouse physically unable to work. Under these circumstances, the trial court properly considered the current medical condition of Bresnahan's former spouse in responding to her motion for amended findings and new trial. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01 (permitting trial court to examine new evidence if presented in motion for amended findings and new trial); State v. Hole, 400 N.W.2d 430, 434 (Minn. App. 1987) (noting Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01 allows trial court to amend findings of fact and make new findings upon motion for new trial). Thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in temporarily reserving jurisdiction over maintenance issues. See, e.g., Van de Loo v. Van de Loo, 346 N.W.2d 173, 178 (Minn. App. 1984) (reserving issues of spousal maintenance because wife's cancer, although in remission, may create substantial medical bills in future).


Bresnahan also argues the trial court erred in its valuations of both Dakota Liquors, Inc. and his marital interest in Dakota Partnership. The specific value of a marital asset is a question of fact, and we will not set aside a trial court's valuation unless clearly erroneous. Hertz v. Hertz, 304 Minn. 144, 145, 229 N.W.2d 42, 44 (1975). Because valuation of assets often requires approximation, a trial court's estimate need only be within a reasonable range of figures. Id.

Both parties agree the trial court reached an inaccurate net value for Dakota Liquors, Inc. The record shows: (1) the parties stipulated to the use of wholesale rather than retail inventory figures in assessing the net value of Dakota Liquors, Inc.; (2) using retail inventory figures, the trial court determined Dakota Liquors, Inc.'s net value to be $386,200; (3) the trial court subtracted $58,700 from the business's net value to reflect a "blue sky" reduction and reached an inaccurate final net value of $302,500; (4) using wholesale inventory figures, the correct net value of Dakota Liquors, Inc. is $346,296; (5) this net value less the trial court's "blue sky" reduction results in a final and correct net value of $287,604. Given these facts, we conclude the trial court erred in its valuation of Dakota Liquors, Inc. Accordingly, we modify the net value of Dakota Liquors, Inc. to $287,604. See Rouland v. Thorson, 542 N.W.2d 681, 685 (Minn. App. 1996) (noting trial court's determination of net income may be reversed or modified on appeal if not reasonably based in fact).

Bresnahan also argues the trial court erred in finding that, because he is the sole owner of Dakota Partnership, the partnership is 100% marital property. However, the record shows: (1) Bresnahan, his father, and his uncle originally formed Dakota Partnership in 1983 to finance the purchase of two Dakota Liquors sites; (2) tax returns indicate Bresnahan bought out his father and his uncle in 1993; (3) 1994-96 tax returns report his father's present shares in Dakota Partnership's profits, losses, and capital to be 1%; (4) Bresnahan's 1994 tax return indicates he owns 102.9% of the partnership's capital, and receives 99% of the profits and losses; (5) Bresnahan's personal financial statements indicate a significant increase in his ownership interest in the partnership between 1992 and 1995; and (6) only Bresnahan signed documents for refinancing the store mortgage on behalf of the partnership. Given these facts, we conclude the trial court correctly designated 100% of Dakota Partnership as marital property and thus did not abuse its discretion in allocating 50% of the partnership to Bresnahan in its property division. See Minn. Stat. § 518.58, subd. 1 (1996) (requiring court to consider all relevant factors in dividing property upon dissolution); Rutten, 347 N.W.2d at 50 (noting trial court has broad discretion in making property division and will only be overturned unless based on clearly erroneous conclusion).


Bresnahan finally argues the trial court erred in concluding he contributed to the length and expense of the dissolution proceeding, and in awarding his former spouse attorney fees. However, an award of attorney fees rests almost entirely in the discretion of the trial court. Solon v. Solon, 255 N.W.2d 395, 397 (Minn. 1977); see Minn. Stat. § 518.14, subd. 1 (1996) (permitting trial courts to award attorney fees if party unreasonably contributed to length and expense of proceeding). The record shows Bresnahan: (1) required his former spouse to build up her case to prove Bresnahan's 100% ownership of Dakota Partnership: (2) presented no evidence of his income and forced his former spouse to reconstruct a spending analysis to disprove his reported income; and (3) provided the trial court with an inaccurate valuation of Dakota Liquors, Inc. Given these facts, we conclude Bresnahan unreasonably complicated the trial proceedings. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the former spouse approximately one-quarter of her attorney fees.

After a careful review of the record, we decline to award attorney fees incurred in preparation of this appeal. See Minn. Stat. § 549.211, subds. 2-3 (Supp. 1997) (providing only for sanctions against parties who bring appellate action for improper purpose, assert unwarranted or frivolous arguments, or allege factual allegations that lack evidentiary support).

Affirmed as modified.

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