This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




Wendell Frederick Ploetz, petitioner,



Dixie Sue Ploetz,


Filed December 29, 1998


Schumacher, Judge

Winona County District Court

File No. F894263

George F. Restovich, Richard W. Kimlinger, George F. Restovich & Associates, 117 East Center Street, Rochester, MN 55904 (for respondent)

Laura J. Seaton, Mary Anne Kircher, Bosshard & Associates, Post Office Box 966, 505 King Street, Suite 334, La Crosse, WI 54602-0966 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Harten, Judge.



On appeal after remand in a dissolution proceeding, appellant Dixie Sue Ploetz (wife) challenges the district court's property division, alleging it excludes the 1995 farm proceeds but not the associated debt, as she and respondent Wendell Frederick Ploetz (husband) agreed. Wife also challenges the district court's reservation of maintenance. We remand.


The 1995 judgment dissolving the parties' marriage awarded husband a large nonmarital interest in the family farm, divided the parties' property, and awarded wife $1,000 permanent monthly maintenance. This court reversed regarding the extent of husband's nonmarital farm interest and remanded for the district court to reapportion property and to reevaluate wife's maintenance award. Ploetz v. Ploetz, No. C8-95-2681 (Minn. App. Aug. 20, 1996) (Ploetz I). The supreme court affirmed in an unpublished order filed June 11, 1997. On remand, the parties agreed to exclude from the marital estate the farm's 1995 earnings and the debts associated with the 1995 earnings. The district court reapportioned the property and reserved maintenance in light of the new property distribution. Wife appeals, arguing the district court did not exclude all of the 1995 farm debt and that mainteance should not have been reserved.


1. Wife alleges the ASCS debt as well as the debt represented by notes 14124 and 12477 were 1995 farm debts but were not excluded from the marital estate.[1] The district court, consistent with husband's testimony, labeled note 14124 as "Operations; 1995" but the district court did not explain why it omitted that note from the debts associated with the 1995 farm proceeds. Regarding note 12477, husband testified its proceeds were used "to cover crop inputs [and] general farming operations costs * * * " and that such a loan is taken out annually and repaid by the next planting season. Again, however, the district court did not explain why the debt was not deemed one associated with the 1995 farm proceeds. The ASCS debt seems to be a combination of amounts (a) borrowed in October 1994 to pay rent due in fall 1994 and to pay down prior notes; (b) borrowed in December 1994 to pay off a prior note; and (c) borrowed in December 1994 to pay prior notes, farm expenses, rent, and to make machinery payments. While husband's testimony suggests that at least some of the ASCS debt was not associated with the 1995 farm proceeds, it also appears that at least part of the ASCS debt was associated with the 1995 farm proceeds. Because the district court excluded all of the 1995 farm proceeds from the marital estate, it should also have excluded all of the associated debt. On this record, however, it appears the district court neither excluded all such debts nor explained why it did not do so. We remand for the district court to determine what portion of the ASCS debt is associated with the 1995 farm operations and exclude that portion of the ASCS debt, as well the debt represented by notes 14124 and 12477 from the marital estate, or to explain why all or part of these debts should not be excluded from the estate.

2. Assuming the exclusion from the marital estate of debts associated with the 1995 farm proceeds would significantly increase the net marital estate, wife argues her share of the property division on remand is defective because it is only slightly more than she received originally. The property division on remand includes over $70,000 in debts not addressed in the original property division. Apportionment of such debts was not an abuse of the district court's discretion. See Neubauer v. Neubauer, 433 N.W.2d 456, 461 (Minn. App. 1988) (property not addressed in original dissolution judgment can be apportioned later), review denied (Minn. Mar. 17, 1989); Justis v. Justis, 384 N.W.2d 885, 889 (Minn. App. 1986) (debt apportionment is reviewed as part of property division), review denied (Minn. May 29, 1986).

3. We reject any argument by wife that the district court abused its discretion by not allowing discovery regarding the 1995 farm proceeds or the debts associated therewith. Ploetz I gave the district court discretion to decide whether to reopen the record on remand.[2] Also, because any challenge to the district court's valuation date was not explicitly made until wife's reply brief, we do not address that argument. See Balder v. Haley, 399 N.W.2d 77, 80 (Minn. 1987) (issues not briefed are waived); cf. McIntire v. State, 458 N.W.2d 714, 717 n.2 (Minn. App. 1990) (arguments not made in appellant's brief may not be revived in a reply brief), review denied (Minn. Sept. 28, 1990), cert. denied 498 U.S. 1090, 111 S. Ct. 970 (1991).

4. Because we remand for the district court to reevaluate its property division, we also remand the maintenance issue for the district court to reevaluate its ruling on that issue in light of any alteration in the property award. See Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 2(a) (1996) (maintenance award to be made in light of property award); see also Stich v. Stich 435 N.W.2d 52, 53 (Minn. 1989) (requiring findings to support maintenance rulings); Zagar v. Zagar, 396 N.W.2d 98, 101 (Minn. App. 1986) (maintenance obligors not generally required to liquidate assets to pay maintenance); Fink v. Fink, 366 N.W.2d 340, 342 (Minn. App. 1985) (maintenance recipients not generally required to liquidate property to pay expenses and their ability to pay expenses includes amounts they can earn on property award).


[1] Wife cites an unpublished opinion to support her argument. Unpublished opinions are not precedential and are of limited value in deciding an appeal. See Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3(c) (1996) ("[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 that while persuasive, "[t]he legislature has unequivocally provided that unpublished opinions are not precedential").

[2] A similar analysis addresses wife's claim that the district court's findings of farm income for 1991-94 are stale and cannot be used in addressing wife's request for maintenance.