This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota Regarding the Parties:
Laureen D. Dvorak,
Timothy G. Judovsky,
Filed June 29, 1999
Lac Qui Parle County District Court
File No. F89850042
Ronald R. Frauenshuh, Jr., 129 N.W. 2nd Street, Ortonville, MN 56278 (for appellant)
Derek A. Trosvig, Swenson, Lervick, Syverson, Anderson, Trosvig, Jacobson, P.A., 710 Broadway, Alexandria, MN 56308 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges a child-support order, claiming that the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision was unsupported by the evidence because he (1) failed to make adequate findings regarding respondent’s living expenses; (2) failed to consider income respondent allegedly derived from illegal transactions; (3) failed to consider respondent’s alleged rental income; and (4) failed to make specific findings on the issue of respondent’s allowable business expenses. We affirm.
Appellant Laureen D. Dvorak filed an action in Lac Qui Parle County on May 12, 1998, for determination of parentage, alleging that respondent Timothy G. Judovsky, a self-employed carpenter and contractor who works full-time on a seasonal basis, is the biological father of her daughter. Lac Qui Parle County obtained financial information from the parties and prepared a proposed order that was served on Judovsky and filed with the ALJ.
Judovsky did not contest the proposed order and did not appear at the May 19, 1998, evidentiary hearing. The ALJ held a default hearing and adjudicated Judovsky the legal father of the child. Dvorak argued that the ALJ did not have enough information to make a final determination of the financial issues. In response, the ALJ issued a temporary order setting the following obligations: (1) child support in the amount of $139 monthly; (2) medical support in the amount of $34 monthly; and (3) child care in the amount of $55 monthly, for a total monthly obligation of $228. The ALJ then set a review hearing in July and reserved the right to modify his order retroactively without a showing of substantial change in circumstances. The ALJ ordered Judovsky to bring copies of his bank statements and documentation showing income and expenses to the July 1998 hearing. The July hearing was continued until September 15, 1998, to allow the parties to complete discovery.
Following the September 15, 1998, hearing, the ALJ noted that Judovsky’s tax returns show a gross income of $19,665 in 1995; $33,743 in 1996; and $19,024 in 1997. The ALJ accounted for these fluctuations by averaging Judovsky’s gross income over the three years and found that Judovsky had an average monthly income of $728.43, net of state and federal taxes and social security contributions. The ALJ acknowledged that Judovsky’s 1998 income could be significantly higher than his average income for the preceding three years, but he also stated that until Judovsky’s 1998 tax returns were available, any consideration of his 1998 income was purely speculative.
In an order dated October 5, 1998, the ALJ made the temporary order permanent with two changes: an increase to $46 monthly for Judovsky’s medical-support contribution and the addition of a $27.80 monthly payment for child-support arrearages, creating a total monthly obligation for Judovsky of $267.80. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
The district court has broad discretion to determine child support, and its decision will not be reversed unless the district court reached "a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record." Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984) (citation omitted). This same standard of review also applies to a child-support decision by an ALJ. Lee v. Lee, 459 N.W.2d 365, 369 (Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Oct. 18, 1990).
Dvorak argues that the ALJ made inadequate findings regarding Judovsky’s living expenses because the ALJ merely recited Judovsky’s assertions. See Dean v. Pelton, 437 N.W.2d 762, 764 (Minn. App. 1989) (stating that district court must affirmatively state findings, not merely recite parties’ claims). But because this case involves a guidelines child-support obligation, the ALJ was not required to make findings on Judovsky’s expenses. See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(i) (1998) (providing that if court does not deviate from guidelines, it need make findings only on obligor’s income and other factors "affecting" child-support determination).
At his deposition, Judovsky stated that his girlfriend had been paying most of his expenses over the preceding six months but that she expected to be repaid. To the extent Dvorak argues that the expenses paid by Judovsky’s girlfriend should be considered income to him, her argument is without merit.
Income is defined as any form of periodic payment. Minn. Stat. § 518.54, subd. 6 (1998). Loans that are not periodic and do not provide a reliable source of child support should not be considered income. Stangel v. Stangel, 366 N.W.2d 747, 749 (Minn. App. 1985) (stating that loans from friends and family should not be considered income). Dvorak has not shown that the money at issue here is periodic or that it provides a reliable source of child support; therefore, the ALJ did not abuse his discretion in failing to consider the money Judovsky received from his girlfriend as income to him.
Dvorak also argues that the ALJ abused his discretion by not considering unreported income that Judovsky allegedly derived from illegal transactions and from rental property. But because of a complete absence of proof on both of these claims, the ALJ did not abuse his discretion by not considering these alleged sources of income in setting Judovsky’s child-support obligation.
Finally, Dvorak argues that the ALJ abused his discretion in allowing Judovsky to deduct accelerated depreciation expenses from his gross income. See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5b(f) (1998) (providing that person seeking to deduct depreciation expenses has burden of proving, if challenged, that expenses are ordinary and necessary). The ALJ did not make a finding that the total of $352 in depreciation expenses Judovsky claimed over three years was ordinary and necessary. But even if this was error, the amount at issue is de minimis and whether the deductions are allowed or disallowed impacts Judovsky’s gross income by less than ten dollars per month. See Haugland v. Canton, 250 Minn. 245, 254, 84 N.W.2d 274, 281 (1957) (invoking doctrine of de minimis non curat lex).
The ALJ did not abuse his discretion in establishing Judovsky’s child-support obligation.