Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Janet Dorothy Oulicky, petitioner,
Robert James Oulicky,
Filed March 31, 1998
File No. F9953835
Beverly K. Dodge, Elizabeth A. Schading, Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd., 400 Northtown Financial Plaza, 200 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433 (for respondent)
Jeffery P. Hicken, Jensen, Hicken & Scott, P.A., 300 Anoka Office Center, 2150 Third Ave., Anoka, MN 55303 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Kalitowski, Judge.
Appellant Robert Oulicky claims the district court erred in retroactively increasing his maintenance obligation, setting maintenance without an evidentiary hearing, and awarding attorney fees to respondent Janet Oulicky. Respondent claims the district court's fee award was inadequate and she seeks fees on appeal. We affirm in part, reverse in part, remand, and deny respondent's motion for attorney fees on appeal.
Appellant claims the dissolution judgment does not state that respondent has a disability and that respondent did not present any evidence of a disability in the modification proceedings. The dissolution judgment did not need to address respondent's disability because the parties had previously stipulated that respondent needed a guardian ad litem, as her "major mental illness" precluded her from prosecuting the dissolution. Consistent with respondent's affidavit in the current proceeding, the order modifying maintenance found that respondent had been hospitalized multiple times in the year-and-a-half after the divorce and that respondent's mental illness has continued. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 (findings of fact not set aside unless clearly erroneous). The finding of respondent's mental illness supports a modification of maintenance retroactive to a date before respondent's motion. Therefore, we need not address appellant's claim that the district court erred by finding he committed a fraud on the court.
Here, the district court found that respondent is unable to meet her reasonable monthly expenses without invading her property award and that appellant is able to contribute to respondent's expenses. A maintenance recipient should not have to liquidate the principal of a property award to meet monthly expenses. Fink v. Fink, 366 N.W.2d 340, 342 (Minn. App. 1985). But the court did not address the size of respondent's monthly deficit or appellant's ability to relieve that deficit. Although respondent's affidavit states she uses "in excess of $400.00 per month" of the principal of her property award to meet expenses, the district court awarded her $1,000 monthly maintenance. The basis for the amount of the award is unclear. See Lyon v. Lyon, 439 N.W.2d 18, 22 (Minn. 1989) (maintenance requires showing of need). We reverse the maintenance award and remand for the district court to make findings on each party's monthly income and reasonable monthly expenses, to reevaluate the amount of the maintenance award, and to make any other findings necessary to support the award it ultimately determines is proper. Stich, 435 N.W.2d at 53; see also Hecker v. Hecker, 568 N.W.2d 705, 709 (Minn. 1997) (noting importance of establishing "baseline circumstances" against which future allegations of changed circumstances will be measured).
The court, at its discretion, may conduct a hearing. Because we remand, we need not address appellant's claim that he was entitled to a continuance of the hearing on respondent's motion.
Respondent's request for attorney fees on appeal is denied.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, remanded, and motion denied.
[ ]1 Respondent's motion is allowed despite the judgment's purported Karon waiver because of the specific terms of that waiver. Respondent moved to modify maintenance within three years of the entry of judgment and her motion is based on appellant's annual income exceeding $5,000. See Karon v. Karon, 435 N.W.2d 501, 503 (Minn. 1989) (allowing stipulations precluding maintenance modification); see also Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 5 (1996) (allowing stipulations that limit or eliminate ability to modify maintenance).