Facts: Barbara Cashman wife of Charles E. Cashman, appeals the decision made on a dissolution of marriage action where the court held that Barbara did not need permanent alimony and should return to nursing to support her financially. Husband and wife were married for almost 28 years and have nine surviving children. In 1984 at the time of marriage, wife was a fully qualified nurse, however, has not worked outside of the home since her first pregnancy in 1948. Husband is a Steele County Judge in Minnesota and has admitted net income per month is $1,893. 9. Wife was 51 years old and Husband was 55 years old at the time trial. Wife was awarded permanent custody for the four minor children, whose ages were 11, 14, 16, 17 at the time of trial. Child support was awarded as follows: $500 per month June 28, 1976; $450 until September 23, 1977; $400 until February 12, 1979; and $300 until May 6, 1982. Child support was not contested. Court awarded wife $100 per month alimony from January 1976 until January 1979 totaling 36 months, afterwards would not receive further support due to the terminating child support.
Court apparently wanted Wife to return to work as a nurse, which would take at least two years. There is also evidence that the wife suffers from circulatory problems in her legs and lower back problems probably resulting from her twelve pregnancies. Wife received the homestead valued at $74,000 with a mortgage of $26,000. Husband received real property to satisfy debts valued at $53,500, he also has to pay $1,000 per month to creditors of the family. Wife could sell homestead but what happens at 57 years old when she has no more support? Legal Issues:
Whether, the district court abused its discretion when denying Barbara Cashman, a 51 year old woman with four minor child to take care of, an award of permanent alimony, instead of returning to work as a nurse after a two year training at least the would be 57 years old and would suffer with leg and back problems? Holdings: Yes Rationale: The court of appeals found that the district court did abuse its discretion when denying wife permanent alimony, and she was awarded permanent alimony in the amount that will reach $500 per month on September 23, 1977 and will remain at that level permanently until wife dies or remarries.