This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Kathryn Mary Kraker, petitioner,
Donald Joseph Kraker,
Filed November 16, 1999
Stearns County District Court
File No. F6971778
Scott G. Knudson, Briggs & Morgan, P.A., 2200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
John E. Mack, Mack & Daby, 26 Main Street, New London, MN 56273 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from a dissolution judgment and an order denying his motion for a new trial, Donald Kraker argues that his recent loss of employment constitutes newly discovered evidence and entitles him to a new trial under Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01(d). Alternatively, Kraker argues the record does not support the district courtís maintenance provision or its division of property. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Kraker a new trial, providing respondent temporary maintenance, or dividing the marital property, we affirm.
Kathryn Forrest, previously known as Kathryn Kraker, petitioned for dissolution of her 25-year marriage to Donald Kraker in May 1998. The district court dissolved the marriage in October 1998, ordered spousal maintenance for Forrest at $300 a month for four years, and divided the marital assets between the parties.
Forrest is 43 years old. She left high school after tenth grade but later obtained her GED. Throughout the marriage, she took care of the partiesí five children, two of whom are still minors, and worked as a janitor and a day-care provider. Because of back problems, Forrest is no longer able to provide day care or perform work that requires heavy lifting or extensive bending. She currently is enrolled in a three-year office management program at St. Cloud Technical College. Forrest has physical custody of the partiesí two minor children. Her monthly expenses are $1,600.
Donald Kraker is 43 years old. He too left high school after tenth grade. Kraker worked for Jennie-O Foods throughout the marriage and was able to rise to a night-supervisor position. Krakerís net monthly income at the time of trial was $2,248. His monthly expenses are slightly over $1,600 and include a $500 car payment on a 1997 pickup truck. The parties own a house valued at $55,000 and have approximately $17,000 in debts.
In August 1998, after the district court entered judgment in this action, Jennie-O Foods fired Kraker. Kraker then moved for a new trial on the ground that his loss of employment constituted newly discovered evidence within the meaning of Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01(d). The district court denied Krakerís motion, reasoning that Krakerís loss of employment would not have altered the courtís earlier findings and conclusions, both of which were justified by the evidence. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Kraker first argues the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial. We disagree. In reviewing the denial of a motion for a new trial, the court must determine not whether the trial court might properly have granted a new trial, but whether it violated clear legal rights or manifestly abused its discretion by refusing to grant a new trial. Hertz v. Hertz, 304 Minn. 144, 146, 229 N.W.2d 42, 44 (1975).
Although courts may grant a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence, events that occur after trial generally are not considered newly discovered evidence and therefore may not form the basis for granting a new trial. See 2 David F. Herr & Roger S. Haydock, 2 Minnesota Practice ß 59.14 ("Facts which occur after the trial should generally not be considered newly discovered evidence."). Kraker lost his job after the trial. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion or violate Krakerís rights in denying him a new trial. The Ohio case on which Kraker relies for his new-trial argument is inapposite because Ohioís statutory structure is different from Minnesotaís. See Bender v. Bender, No. 2224-M, 1994 WL 149247, at *1 (Ohio Ct. App. Apr. 27, 1994) (granting new trial when failure to reserve courtís jurisdiction precluded modification). In Minnesota, Krakerís proper recourse lies in a modification motion under Minn. Stat. ß 518.64, subd. 2(a)(1) (1998), which specifically contemplates redress for changed circumstances. Id.
Kraker next claims the evidence does not support the district courtís maintenance award. Again, we disagree. Spousal maintenance is a matter within the district courtís broad discretion. Erlandson v. Erlandson, 318 N.W.2d 36, 38 (Minn. 1982). In determining maintenance, the district court must consider the factors in Minn. Stat. ß 518.552 (1998). Essentially, the court must balance the financial needs of the spouse seeking maintenance against the resources of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought. Maeder v. Maeder, 480 N.W.2d 677, 679 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. Mar. 19, 1992). The reviewing court will not disturb a maintenance award unless it is clearly against logic and the facts on record. Rutten v. Rutten, 347 N.W.2d 47, 50 (Minn. 1984).
The record shows that Forrest has limited assets, is physically unable to continue to work as a day-care provider, and is currently limited in her ability to obtain other employment because she has custody of the partiesí two minor children and is attending school. By contrast, Kraker is in good health and earned $2,248 per month at the time of trial. Krakerís income at the time of trial allowed him to fulfill the maintenance obligation the court imposed on him and left him with $221 in discretionary funds. See Carrick v. Carrick, 560 N.W.2d 407, 412 (Minn. App. 1997) (stating maintenance obligation must be based on obligorís income at time of trial). On this record, we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in requiring Kraker to pay maintenance until Forrest finishes school and finds a suitable job. See Zamora v. Zamora, 435 N.W.2d 609, 611-12 (Minn. App. 1989) (awarding permanent maintenance to spouse who had been homemaker during 24-year marriage, had custody of minor children, was attending school, and suffered from ongoing health problems related to diabetes). If, as Kraker claims, changed circumstances have affected his ability to fulfill his maintenance obligation, Kraker may bring a modification motion under Minn. Stat ß 518.64, subd. 2(a)(1).
Kraker last claims the district court abused its discretion in distributing the marital property. Krakerís claim lacks merit. Minnesota law requires the court to make a "just and equitable" division of marital property. Minn. Stat. ß 518.58, subd. 1 (1998). But the division of marital property need not be mathematically equal. Nazar v. Nazar, 505 N.W.2d 628, 635 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied (Minn. Oct. 28, 1993). We will not reverse a district courtís property division unless it lacks a reasonable basis in fact and principle. Kriesel v. Gustafson, 513 N.W.2d 9, 12 (Minn. App. 1994). The courtís property division in this case has a basis in fact and principle.
The court awarded Kraker the assets he requested and the debts attached to those assets. In so doing, the court considered the relevant statutory factors, including the length of the partiesí marriage, their ages, health, sources of income, and training. See Minn. Stat. ß 518.58, subd. 1. Kraker received the house, all cars, 50 percent of his pension, a U.S. savings bond, the lawn tractor, and the coin collection. Forrest received her diamond ring, the camper, and 50 percent of Krakerís pension. Each partyís assets were worth approximately $43,000. In view of the statutory factors, we conclude that the trial courtís distribution was eminently fair.