In re the Marriage of: Karen Lynn Garlick, n/k/a Karen Lynn Dokken, petitioner, Respondent,
William J. Garlick, Appellant.
Hennepin County District Court File No. 27FA000256193
Karen Lynn Dokken, Maple Grove, Minnesota (pro se respondent)
Anne M. Honsa, Deborah M. Gallenberg, Honsa & Assocates, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.
Appellant contends that the child-support magistrate abused her discretion by modifying appellant's child-support obligation and ignoring the statutorily presumptive basic-support obligation, by failing to grant appellant a parenting-expense adjustment, and by failing to retroactively modify the award to the date appellant served his motion to modify. Appellant further contends that the district court erred by dismissing his motion for review. We reverse and remand.
Appellant-father, William Garlick, and respondent-mother, Karen Dokken, were married from 1996 to 2001 and have two children together, now ages 17 and 14. The divorce decree awarded the parties joint legal custody of the children and required appellant to pay respondent $1, 800 a month in child support, the maximum amount allowable under the governing statute at the time, based on a percentage of appellant's income. See Minn. Stat. § 518.551, subd. 5(b) (2000).
In setting the obligation, the district court found that appellant's gross annual income for the year 2000 was expected to be $141, 000, and that respondent's gross annual income was $23, 920. The district court further divided the couple's assets, awarding appellant his 40, 000 shares of Life Time Fitness stock.
One year later, appellant moved to modify his child-support obligation. The child-support magistrate (CSM) denied the motion, noting that although appellant's actual income for the year 2000 had been lower than expected, $105, 339, he had not shown an inability to meet the obligation. Later, appellant sold his Life Time Fitness stock and purchased approximately $765, 000 in classic automobiles and storage units for the vehicles with the proceeds.
In 2005, appellant became totally disabled and began receiving social security disability and private disability benefits in the total amount of $8, 400 a month. Respondent also began receiving monthly retirement, survivors, and disability insurance (RSDI) derivative benefits of $1, 150 a month for the benefit of the children as a result of appellant's disability.
In January 2012, appellant moved to modify his child-support obligation, which had increased over the years from $1, 800 to $2, 227 per month, based on cost-of-living adjustments. Thus, with the $1, 150 per month in RSDI benefits and $2, 227 in child-support payments, respondent was receiving total support of $3, 377 per month. Appellant requested a modification due to his disability and as an offset for respondent's receipt of RSDI benefits. Specifically, appellant requested that his obligation be modified to $1, 725 a month, less the RSDI benefits of $1, 150, and a small reduction for his contribution to the children's insurance premiums, for a net obligation of $538 a month.
The parties appeared at a hearing before the CSM on appellant's motion to modify. Respondent requested additional discovery, and the CSM continued the matter. Appellant provided the ...