Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Bruce B. Haskell, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kapsner, Justice.
N.D. Supreme CourtPaulson v. Paulson,
This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents]
[Download as WordPerfect]
Opinion of the Court by Kapsner, Justice.
Paulson v. Paulson No. 20100399
[¶1] Mark Paulson appeals from an amended divorce judgment ordering him to pay spousal support to Cheryl Paulson. We affirm, concluding the district court's findings of fact are not clearly erroneous and the court did not err in awarding spousal support. We deny Cheryl Paulson's request that she be awarded attorney fees for defending against a frivolous appeal and her request for sanctions for Mark Paulson's alleged failure to comply with the appellate rules regarding preparation of the appendix.
[¶2] Mark and Cheryl Paulson began living together in 1987 and married in 1994. They separated in 2006, and Mark Paulson brought this action for divorce in 2008. Following a trial, the district court granted the divorce, divided the marital property and debts, and denied Cheryl Paulson's request for spousal support. Cheryl Paulson appealed, and this Court affirmed the property division but concluded the district court had failed to properly apply the Ruff-Fischer guidelines and its findings of fact on spousal support were clearly erroneous. Paulson v. Paulson, 2010 ND 100, 783 N.W.2d 262. This Court therefore reversed the district court's spousal support determination and remanded "for appropriate findings and analysis under the Ruff-Fischer guidelines and the case law." Id. at ¶ 15. The Court directed the district court to analyze "the supporting spouse's needs and ability to pay, and maintaining relative standards of living," and noted that the district court "may take more testimony to make additional findings if it believes it is necessary to appropriately determine spousal support." Id.
[¶3] On remand, the district court sent a letter to counsel for the parties suggesting one possible procedure to follow, but giving the parties the opportunity to suggest other alternatives:
As you are aware, the Supreme Court remanded the captioned case directing me to make more detailed findings regarding the issue of spousal support. It is my intention to review the trial transcript and issue findings and conclusions based on the trial transcript. If either party objects to my proceeding in this manner, please let me know as soon as possible, and inform me as to your preferred procedure. Neither party objected to this procedure, and neither party requested the opportunity to submit additional evidence or present legal or factual arguments to the court. The district court issued amended findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment providing more complete ...