Goodhue County District Court File No. F497209
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Toussaint, Chief Judge
Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Appellant Michael Dennis Anderson appeals from the district court's order modifying child support and spousal maintenance. Appellant argues that (1) the parties' marital termination agreement deprived the district court of jurisdiction to alter the maintenance award; (2) respondent failed to show that there was a substantial change in circumstances and that this change made the previous maintenance and support order unfair and unreasonable; and (3) the district court's findings regarding maintenance and child support were inadequate. Because the district court had jurisdiction to modify the maintenance award, but because it did not make all the required statutory findings for modifying spousal maintenance and child support, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
Appellant Michael Dennis Anderson and respondent Rebecca Shear were married on November 9, 1974. During their marriage, they had six children, five of whom were minors at the time of their divorce in 1997. Currently, three of the children are minors.
The parties entered into a marital termination agreement (MTA) that was incorporated, by reference, into the judgment and decree. In the MTA, the parties stipulated to many issues, including spousal maintenance and child support payments and the manner in which they would be received and modified. Specifically, the parties agreed to joint legal and physical custody of the five minor children. Anderson's gross annual income was found to be $200,000, and he agreed to pay $500 per month in child support for each of the five minor children. Anderson also agreed to pay respondent $1,500 in spousal maintenance for one year and $800 per month until March 1, 2007. The MTA provided that "[s]hould Respondent suffer a reduction in income which is involuntary * * * he shall receive a corresponding reduction in child support and/or maintenance." It also included a provision, titled "Full and Final Settlement," which in part precluded either party from having "any further claims of any kind or character against the other party arising out of the marital relationship of the parties."
In 1999, Anderson moved the court to decrease his spousal maintenance and child support obligations because his income had decreased to $152,568. On September 14, 1999, the district court found that Anderson's income had decreased by 9%, and accordingly, decreased the spousal maintenance from $800 per month to $728 and the child support from $1,500 per month to $1,365.
On August 2, 1999, Shear brought a motion to move to Mondovi, Wisconsin with the three minor children because she had accepted employment in Mondovi and intended to begin classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In response, Anderson brought a motion to deny the move and asked for full custody of E.S., the oldest of the remaining three minor children. The district court granted Shear's motion to move, but gave Anderson custody of E.S.
On November 29, 2001, Shear brought a motion to increase spousal maintenance to $4,000 per month and to increase child support to comport with the child-support guidelines. An evidentiary hearing was held March 2002, and on April 19, 2002, the court issued an order granting respondent's motion. The court found that (1) Shear's yearly income was $5,000; (2) Shear's monthly expenses were $5,028.91; (3) Anderson's earnings have increased by 60%, from $152,563 to $244,450 per year; and (4) Shear "demonstrated that the substantial increase in [Anderson's] earnings make the current spousal maintenance amount of $782 per month unreasonable and unfair."
Anderson brought a motion for amended findings on May 15, 2002, but the motion was denied. This appeal follows.