STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Gerald J. Gervais, petitioner,
Karen Lynn Gervais,
Filed July 6, 1999
Washington County District Court
File No. F098708
William E. Haugh, Jr., Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, P.L.L.P., W-1100 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101-1379 (for appellant)
Michael Ormond, Ormond Law Offices, 300 Sexton Building, 529 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Foley, Judge.[*]
Appellant-father Gerald Gervais challenges the district court's finding of his income, finding of his support arrears, denial of his post-hearing motion, and award of attorney fees to respondent-mother Karen Gervais. We affirm.
Father alleges the district court did not follow the statutory formula when imputing income to him. See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5b(f) (1998) ("[i]ncome from self employment is equal to gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses"). The district court's discussion of what it considered when imputing income to father shows that it believed an accurate determination of father's income required consideration of more than the factors in the statutory formula. Thus, the district court functionally found that it was impracticable to determine father's income with the statutory formula. See Veit v. Veit, 413 N.W.2d 601, 606 (Minn. App. 1987) (allowing income to be imputed to support obligor if it is impracticable to determine obligor's actual income).
Father challenges the finding of his income, alleging the district court disregarded his depreciation deductions and business expenses. When imputing income to father, the district court found father's depreciation deductions were "for tax purposes only" and stated that it considered father's "[alleged] depreciation deductions and business expenses." Indeed, in its post-trial order, the district court rejected the assertion that it did not consider father's depreciation and business deductions.
Apparently concluding much of the $6,433 in monthly expenses claimed by father were properly attributable to father's business, the district court found father's reasonable monthly household expenses to be $2,780. In imputing a $5,000 net monthly income to father, however, the district court stated "[father's] claimed monthly living expenses total $6,433." Father alleges this inconsistency renders the $5,000 figure defective and that much of his alleged $6,433 in expenses is debt repayment. We initially note that father is arguing that the district court erred by using the amount father claimed his monthly expenses to be in determining his income. Secondly, regardless of the reason for the expenses father claimed, they must be paid. Therefore, either father or his business apparently has the ability to do so. Thirdly, the record contains (a) statements by father that he develops his real estate for sale; (b) evidence that his net worth increased from $709,700 in 1987 to $1,077,055 in 1997; (c) allegations by mother that father uses his business equipment to develop his land; and (d) allegations by father that the increase in the value of his land is due to "appreciation only". To the extent the increase in father's net worth is due to father's use of his business equipment (and hence the incurring of business expenses), not to consider the increase for support purposes would allow father to use business expenses to siphon funds out of the pool of assets available for child support, while allowing him to retain the benefit of the use of those funds as increased value in his real estate. This result would be inconsistent with case law. See Letourneau v. Letourneau, 350 N.W.2d 476, 478 (Minn. App. 1984) (stating children entitled to benefit from income of non-custodial parent and to enjoy standard of living they would have had if marriage had not been dissolved).
In imputing income to father, the district court considered father's "increased net worth, [and] past and future land sales[.]" Father alleges this is incorrect under Quaid v. Quaid, 403 N.W.2d 904, 907 (Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. Jun. 30, 1987), because the district court did not consider mother's resources and the children's needs. The district court stated it had to consider the statutory factors. It also found mother has a doctorate, is the director of a local establishment, and is a professor at a local college. These findings show that the district court had a reasonably specific awareness of the relevant financial circumstances when it considered father's land sales in setting support. Father's support obligation is not defective under Quaid.
Father alleges the district court should have reduced his arrears by the tax benefit mother received when she, with father's permission, used the tax-dependency exemption the judgment awarded father. Treatment of matters involving dependency exemptions is discretionary with the district court. Cf. Joneja v. Joneja, 422 N.W.2d 306, 310 (Minn. App. 1988) (stating district court has discretion to modify apportionment of tax-dependency exemptions). Because father had only nominal income for tax purposes and would have received little, if any, benefit by using the exemption, we cannot say the district court abused its discretion by not reducing father's arrears by the tax benefit conferred on mother.
Father alleges mother is estopped from seeking arrears under McNattin v. McNattin, 450 N.W.2d 169 (Minn. App. 1990). Estoppel was not addressed by the district court. Mother alleges the issue was not raised below. Either defect means the issue is not properly before this court. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d at 580, 582 (Minn. 1998) (stating reviewing courts consider "'only those issues the record shows were presented and considered by the trial court'") (quoting Thayer v. American Fin. Advertisers, Inc., 322 N.W.2d 599, 604 (Minn. 1982)) (emphasis added). We note, however, that McNattin is distinguishable because it involved an "unusual" record on which this court deferred to the district court's exercise of its discretion to accomplish what was equitable. Here, father asks this court to reverse the district court and produce a result favoring a party the district court found not credible. We decline to do so.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 Father cites an unpublished opinion to support his argument on this issue. Unpublished opinions are of limited value in deciding an appeal. See Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3(c) (1998) ("[u]npublished opinions of the court of appeals are not precedential") (emphasis added); Dynamic Air, Inc. v. Bloch, 502 N.W.2d 796, 801 (Minn. App. 1993) (stating dangers of mis-citation and unfairness associated with use of unpublished opinions and while persuasive, "[t]he legislature has unequivocally provided that unpublished opinions are not precedential").
 Similar analyses address both father's allegation that the district court should not have used the $20,800 figure in a May 1993 letter he signed as an accurate representation of his arrears at that time and father's disputed allegation that the parties agreed he would support mother and the children during the summers.