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In re Marriage of Hagelstrom

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 5, 2013

In re the Marriage of: Ryan L. Hagelstrom, petitioner, Appellant,
Gabrielle J. Ulan, f/k/a Gabrielle J. Hagelstrom, Respondent.


Carver County District Court File No. 10-FA-11-12

Andrew M. Silverstein, Andrew M. Silverstein Law Office, L.L.C., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

Gabrielle J. Ulan, Chaska, Minnesota (pro se respondent)

Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Cleary, Judge.


In this appeal from two post-decree orders, appellant Ryan Hagelstrom argues that the district court erroneously (1) ordered him to pay respondent Gabrielle Ulan temporary spousal maintenance; (2) failed to impute income to respondent for purposes of setting child support; (3) declined to order the appointment of a parenting-time consultant; and (4) required him to pay any tuition incurred as a "daycare expense." We affirm.


In May 2011, the ten-year marriage of appellant and respondent was dissolved by a stipulated judgment and decree. The parties agreed to share joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children. The judgment and decree resolved all issues except child support and spousal maintenance. After a trial on these issues, the district court ordered in April 2012 that appellant pay respondent temporary spousal maintenance and set appellant's child-support obligation. The district court denied appellant's motion to order the appointment of a parenting-time consultant for the resolution of future parenting-time issues because it found that neither party had submitted an agreement to the district court. Appellant moved for amended findings or, in the alternative, a new trial. In September 2012, the district court granted in part and denied in part appellant's motion, and entered an amended judgment. Appellant challenges the district court's April and September orders.


A district "court has broad discretion in deciding whether to award maintenance and before an appellate court determines that there has been a clear abuse of that discretion, it must determine that there must be a clearly erroneous conclusion that is against logic and the facts on record." Dobrin v. Dobrin, 569 N.W.2d 199, 202 (Minn.1997). A factual finding is clearly erroneous when, after careful review of the record, we are "left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made." Prahl v. Prahl, 627 N.W.2d 698, 702 (Minn.App. 2001) (quotation omitted).

The district court ordered that appellant pay respondent $500 per month in temporary spousal maintenance for just over two years. In his post-trial motion, appellant requested that the district court find that spousal maintenance was not warranted. The district court denied his motion, reiterating that it found "that the concept of 'potential income' alluded to by [appellant] is factually and legally unwarranted in this proceeding." On appeal, appellant argues that the district court's finding under Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 1 (2012), supporting its award of temporary spousal maintenance to respondent is clearly erroneous because the district court failed to consider whether respondent is able to meet her reasonable needs through employment and ignored the marital standard of living. We disagree.

The district court may award spousal maintenance if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks the property to provide for the party's own reasonable needs or is unable to provide adequate self-support through employment. Minn. Stat. § 518.552, subd. 1. When making a finding that supports a maintenance award, the district court must consider the standard of living during the marriage. Id. If the district court makes a finding to support an order for maintenance, it must consider several statutory factors to arrive at the amount and duration of the maintenance. Id., subd. 2 (2012).

Here, the district court made detailed findings about respondent's employment history during the marriage and her employment efforts at the time of trial. During the marriage, respondent worked as a pharmacy technician. After having two children, the parties agreed that respondent would not be employed outside of the home. When respondent began part-time employment, she worked when appellant was not at work to ...

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