may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Glenn A. Mattson, petitioner,
Beverly A. Mattson,
Filed July 27, 1999
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
Goodhue County District Court
File No. F7-95-796
Kent D. Laugen, 306 West Avenue, Red Wing, MN 55066 (for respondent)
Daniel R. Trost, Schreiber & Jarstad, 104 S. Washington Street, Lake City, MN 55041 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Norton, Judge.
Appellant appeals from an order modifying a dissolution judgment and decree, which changed the spousal maintenance and child support provisions. She asserts that the district court erred in reserving spousal maintenance, striking a child-support-related provision, and not making the child support modification retroactive. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
Beverly Mattson, appellant, and Glenn Mattson, respondent, were married in 1974. They have one minor child, born October 15, 1984. The parties' marriage was dissolved by judgment in February 1996, which was amended in March 1996. The judgment granted the parties joint physical custody of the minor child and calculated child support, assuming that the child would spend half of her time with each parent. Respondent was to pay appellant $172.81 per month in child support.
Appellant moved for a modification of child support in May of 1998. Respondent moved for visitation and, in a supplemental motion, requested that the hearing on child support be rescheduled for a later date. In an order dated June 12, 1998, the court appointed a visitation expeditor but did not address the other issues.
In November 1998, appellant moved again for child support modification on the ground that the minor child was now living with appellant most of the time. She also moved for respondent to pay $510, which represented half of the expenses for the minor child's extra-curricular activities.
Respondent moved for termination or, in the alternative, reservation of spousal maintenance, which was set at $225 per month, and to strike the provision of the judgment that provided for each party to pay half of the minor child's extra-curricular expenses. Respondent requested that the provision be stricken because appellant's definition of extra-curricular activities was "ever expanding." He also asserted that the provision should be removed because whatever new amount he was ordered to pay for child support would encompass such costs.
The district court found that the minor child lived with appellant 80% of the time and with respondent 20% of the time. Applying the Hortis/Valento formula, the court increased respondent's child support payment to $486.09 per month. Appellant does not dispute this new child support amount. The court also found that, because appellant's income had increased and because the order increased child support, there was a substantial change in circumstances that warranted reserving spousal maintenance. The court struck the provision of the judgment that stated the parties were to split the cost of the extra-curricular activities. This appeal followed.
Spousal maintenance determinations fall within the district court's broad discretion and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion. Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984). The district court's conclusion must be against logic and the facts on the record before the reviewing court will find an abuse of discretion. Id. Findings of fact are upheld unless clearly erroneous. Gessner v. Gessner, 487 N.W.2d 921, 923 (Minn. App. 1992).
The district court's discretion, however, "must be exercised within the limits set out by the legislature." Moylan v. Moylan, 384 N.W.2d 859, 864 (Minn. 1986). The court must, therefore, make sufficiently detailed findings that demonstrate it considered the relevant statutory factors in making its maintenance determination or its decision will be reversed and remanded. Stich v. Stich, 435 N.W.2d 52, 53 (Minn. 1989).
Modification of maintenance is appropriate 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 * * * ; (3) receipt of [public] assistance * * * ; (4) a change in the cost of living for either party * * * which makes the terms unreasonable and unfair.
Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(a) (1998).
If there has been a substantial change that renders the previous order unreasonable or unfair, then the court considers the factors for determining maintenance set forth in Minn. Stat. § 518.552. Minn. Stat. § 518.64, subd. 2(c) (1998). Maintenance is appropriate if, taking into consideration the standard of living established during the marriage, the party seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs or is unable to adequately provide self-support. Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 1 (1988).
Here, the district court concluded that
[b]ased on a view of the circumstances in their entirety, there has been a substantial change in circumstances in this case to warrant reserving the maintenance.
But the record and the court's findings do not support this conclusion.
Correcting for an obvious clerical error, the court found that appellant's net monthly income was $1,714.92 and respondent's was $2,860.66. See Redding v. Redding, 372 N.W.2d 31, 37 (Minn. App. 1985) (court of appeals can correct obvious clerical errors), review denied (Minn. Oct. 18, 1985). The court made no findings relating current incomes to incomes at the time of dissolution, except to state in its memorandum that appellant's "hourly income has increased since the original award."
With regard to expenses, the court stated:
[Respondent] claims approximately $2,830.00 in current living expenses; [appellant] claims approximately $2,295.00 in current living expenses.
These are not findings of fact with regard to expenses, see Dean v. Pelton, 437 N.W.2d 762, 764 (Minn. App. 1989) (findings "must be affirmatively stated as findings of the trial court"), and the second statement is unsupported by the record. Both parties claimed monthly expenses of $2,830.
The court's statement in its memorandum that "[a]t this time, * * * [appellant] will be able to meet her cost of living needs as outlined in her Court submissions" is also unsupported by the record. Appellant submitted monthly expenses of $2,830. The court found her net monthly income to be $1,714.92. It increased child support to $486.09 per month. This results in appellant's having a $628.99 deficit each month.
In sum, the district court's findings are insufficient and, in part, unsupported by the record. They do not establish that a substantial change in circumstances occurred that rendered the original order of spousal maintenance unreasonable or unfair. They are also insufficient regarding whether appellant has the means to provide for her reasonable needs. Accordingly, the issue of maintenance must be reversed and remanded.
2. The extra-curricular activities provision.
Paragraph 7 of the judgment provided that expenses for the child's extra-curricular activities, "including but not limited to sports activities and YMCA camps," were to be divided equally between the parties. Respondent moved for elimination of this provision because it was a source of conflict between the parties and because the court was going to substantially increase his child support obligations in light of the change in the physical custody arrangement.
Although the district court did not elaborate on its decision to strike the paragraph, it is clear from the record that it considered the appropriate statutory factors in removing the provision. Cf. Moylan, 384 N.W.2d at 865 (remand necessary when record fails to reveal that district court considered appropriate factors). Namely, the court made findings to the effect that there had been a substantial change in circumstances that rendered the original decree unfair with regard to child support - the change in physical custody - and this provides the basis for the changes in child support, which encompasses the extra-curricular provision.
3. The order not being retroactive.
Appellant contends that the district court erred in not making the modification of child support retroactive. But appellant did not request this in her motion, and there was no oral argument on the motion. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 7.02 ("An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which, unless made during a hearing or trial, shall be in writing, shall state with particularity the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought.") (emphasis added). Accordingly, the court's failure to make the order retroactive is not reversible error.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.