from the District Court of Cavalier County, Northeast
Judicial District, the Honorable Anthony S. Benson, Judge.
J. Engen, Devils Lake, North Dakota, for plaintiff and
Jessica D. Jensen (argued), Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and
Patti J. Jensen, East Grand Forks, Minnesota, for defendant
Matthew Lindseth appeals an amended judgment ordering him to
pay Alaina Minyard $1, 216 per month in child support. We
affirm, concluding the district court did not err in
determining Lindseth's income for child support purposes.
Lindseth and Minyard have two children together. Minyard is a
nurse and Lindseth is a self-employed farmer. In September
2016, Minyard sued Lindseth to determine primary residential
responsibility and child support.
The district court entered interim orders relating to primary
residential responsibility and child support. The court
awarded Minyard primary residential responsibility until the
end of the 2017 school year and established Lindseth's
monthly child support obligation at $353. The parties had
equal residential responsibility for the summer of 2017, and
Minyard owed Lindseth $1, 050 in monthly child support. After
an August 2017 trial, the court awarded Minyard primary
residential responsibility. The parties stipulated that the
issue of child support would be continued to a later date. In
January 2018, the court entered an interim order establishing
Lindseth's monthly child support obligation at $850
beginning in December 2017.
The district court tried the issue of child support in March
2018. At trial, Lindseth submitted his tax returns from 2012
to 2016 showing he earned an average annual income of $10,
034. In its order following trial, the court found
Lindseth's tax returns did not accurately reflect his
income for child support purposes. The court found
Lindseth's average annual income was $72, 075 on the
basis of the testimony of a certified public accountant and
Lindseth's balance sheets showing an annual increase in
net worth from 2012 to 2017. After taking deductions, the
court found Lindseth's monthly net income was $4, 277,
resulting in a monthly child support obligation of $1, 216.
The court entered an amended judgment establishing
Lindseth's monthly child support obligation at $1, 216
from September 2016 through May 2017, and from September 2017
onward. Lindseth owed $85 per month from June 2017 through
August 2017 when the parties shared residential
Lindseth argues the district court erred in calculating his
income for child support purposes.
This Court's standard of review for child support
decisions is well established:
Child support determinations involve questions of law which
are subject to the de novo standard of review, findings of
fact which are subject to the clearly erroneous standard of
review, and may, in some limited areas, be matters of
discretion subject to the abuse of discretion standard of
review. The district court errs as a matter of law if it
fails to comply ...