Pine County District Court File No. 58-FA-08-53
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ross, Judge
This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Chutich, Judge.
The district court dissolved the marriage of Amanda Grace Edmond and Caleb Grace based on the parties' stipulation, which included an agreement allocating child support for the two minor children. After Caleb left his teaching career, the parties asked the child-support magistrate to establish support based on the statutory guidelines. The child-support magistrate found that Caleb was voluntarily underemployed and imputed income to him based on his potential income as a teacher. The district court vacated the magistrate's order, finding that Caleb's career change was in good faith and modifying his child support under his actual income. Amanda appeals the child-support order, contending that the district court erred because it failed to make proper findings, improperly concluded that Caleb was not voluntarily underemployed, and failed to enforce the parties' stipulation. Amanda also contends that the district court abused its discretion in allocating the dependency tax exemptions for the children. Because the district court did not err in determining Caleb's income or abuse its discretion in assigning the dependency exemption, we affirm.
Caleb and Amanda married in 2003, had two children, and sought dissolution in March 2008. They stipulated to the resolution of all dissolution issues in May 2009. The district court adopted the agreement as its judgment and decree in February 2010. The stipulated dissolution decree conveys joint legal custody of the children to both parties but sole physical custody to Amanda, subject to Caleb's parenting time.
The decree recognized that Caleb was a licensed teacher but working part time as a paraprofessional at Edison Charter School in Duluth earning $19,992 annually. Caleb was also enrolled part-time at the University of Wisconsin-Superior pursuing a Master's Degree in Special Education, which he expected to complete in August 2010.
The judgment and decree directed Caleb to pay $200 in monthly child support beginning June 1, 2009, increasing to $350 monthly beginning January 1, 2010. Most relevant to the issues on appeal, it also included the following language about Caleb's future employment plans:
The parties agreed not to impute potential income to [Caleb] through 2010, to permit [Caleb] an opportunity to complete his Master's degree, which is expected to lead to higher earning potential. . . . .
It is in the best interest of the minor children to deviate downward from the child support guideline and to reserve [Caleb's] obligation to pay a portion of the medical and dental support, as well as child care support, through 2010.
[Amanda] has provided for the minor children's needs, without financial contribution from [Caleb], throughout this proceeding. It is in the best interests of the minor children that [Caleb] pay child support as set forth herein through December 31, 2010. This agreement provided [Caleb] sufficient time to earn his master's ...