Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Mitchell County, Dedra Schroeder, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bower, J.
Shallon Pereault appeals the district court's grant of Brian Pereault's motion to dismiss a child custody petition. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Shallon Pereault appeals the decision of the district court which granted Brian Pereault's motion to dismiss Shallon's petition for custody of the parties' child on the ground the court did not have jurisdiction under Iowa Code chapter 598B (2011). Shallon argues the district court erred in finding that Washington, not Iowa, was the child's home state under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). We affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Shallon and Brian Pereault were divorced in Illinois in 1999. In May 2000, the parties' child, K.P., was born in Minnesota. K.P. resided with Shallon in Minnesota; Brian resided in Washington. In 2003, an administrative consent order was entered in Washington establishing Brian's child support obligation for the child. In 2004 or 2005, K.P. began spending the summers with Brian in Washington.
In 2007, K.P. and Shallon moved to Iowa. K.P. started elementary school in Iowa, but still spent the summers in Washington with Brian. In 2010, at K.P.'s request, Shallon and Brian agreed K.P. would live with Brian for the summer and through the 2010-11 school year. In June 2010, K.P. moved to Washington.
On December 21, 2010, Brian filed a petition in Washington for modification of the child support consent order, expressing the parties' agreement that he pay "0-Zero" for child support because "K.P. has been residing with me since June 2010 and will continue to do so through the school year." Shallon mailed a letter to Brian dated September 1, 2010 concerning K.P.'s living with Brian which stated, "K.P. has my permission to stay this school year with [the] father Brian Pereault. She will be returning to me [the] mother at the end of this school year."
Brian's intent to have K.P. reside with him temporarily changed when he "learned of Ms. Pereault's criminal issues and [he began to have] growing concerns with K.P.'s placement with [the] mother." On December 2, 2010, the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department (Iowa) along with the Austin Police Department (Minnesota) executed a search warrant at Shallon's residence concerning several burglaries that had taken place in Austin, Minnesota. One stolen item was found.*fn1 During the course of the search, officers also found a glass methamphetamine pipe. Shallon admitted the pipe was hers, and was found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia. Shallon was also charged with possession of a controlled substance when the residue in the pipe later tested positive for methamphetamine. Shallon admitted she had used methamphetamine, but alleged she had stopped using drugs "years ago."*fn2
On May 20, 2011, Brian filed a petition for custody in Washington under the UCCJEA. At that time, there was no order in place with regard to the custody of K.P. in any state; accordingly, this was to be an initial custody determination.
On July 11, 2011, the Washington court entered a temporary custody and child support order granting custody of K.P. to Brian. On July 26, 2011, Shallon, through a Washington attorney, filed an answer to the custody petition and a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds with the Washington court.
On July 29, 2011, Shallon initiated the instant case by filing a petition for custody in Iowa. Brian filed an answer and motion to dismiss, alleging "Washington has exclusive jurisdiction of this matter" and "Iowa shall not exercise its jurisdiction, if at the time of the commencement of the proceedings, a proceeding concerning the custody of the child has been commenced in a Court of another state." See Iowa Code chapter 598B.
On August 26, 2011, the Washington court issued an order directing Shallon to participate in a hair follicle drug test. On October 28, 2011, the Washington court again ordered Shallon to participate in a hair follicle drug test. On November 4, 2011, the Washington court determined Shallon had "intentionally violated the Court's prior requirements for her to participate in a hair follicle test." Shallon was considered "dirty" for all drug test results.
On November 4, 2011, the Washington court denied Shallon's motion to dismiss on subject matter jurisdiction. The ...