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State ex rel. K.M.C. v. Heater

Court of Appeal of Iowa

May 30, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, EX REL., K.M.C., J.D.H., AND R.J.C., Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
JEREMIAH HANSEN HEATER, Respondent-Appellant,
v.
JOEANN M. COMBS, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Howard County, Margaret L. Lingreen, Judge.

         A father appeals the district court's order modifying his child support obligation.

          Kevin E. Schoeberl of Story & Schoeberl Law Firm, Cresco, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Patricia Hemphil, Tamara Lorenz, and Erin Eastman, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, P.J.

         A father appeals the district court's order modifying his child support obligation. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Jeremiah Heater and Joeann Combs are the parents of K.C., J.H., and R.C. They were never married. In 2004, the district court entered an order establishing paternity and accrued child support in the amount of $2532, to be paid in monthly installments of $42.21. Because Heater lived in the same household as Combs and the children, the court noted "current support, medical support and the allocation of uncovered medical expenses are reserved." Heater satisfied the obligation for payment of accrued support in 2009.

         In 2012, the child support recovery unit filed a notice of intent to conduct a review for modification of the support order, noting "[t]he dollar amount of the support obligation was previously set at zero; however, circumstances have changed1 and support should be ordered." See Iowa Code § 252H.[1] (2011). Following a hearing, the district court ordered Heater to pay $941.61 in child support and $160.71 in cash medical support per month.

         Heater appeals, contending (1) the district court should not have considered overtime or prevailing wage jobs in calculating his gross income, and (2) the district court erred in the amount of medical support it assessed. Our review is de novo. Markey v. Carney, 705 N.W.2d 13, 19 (Iowa 2005).

         II. Overtime Pay

         "Overtime wages are within the definition of gross income to be used in calculating net monthly income for child support purposes." In re Marriage of Brown, 487 N.W.2d 331, 333 (Iowa 1992). However, "where overtime pay appears to be an anomaly or is uncertain or speculative, a deviation from the child support guidelines may be appropriate." Id. The burden is on the recipient of the extra income to prove that the extra income is "anomalous, uncertain, or speculative." Markey, 705 N.W.2d at 20.

         Heater testified he has been employed in the well drilling business for approximately six years. Until September 2011, he worked for Envirotec, where he earned $11 per hour and worked overtime. Envirotec laid its employees off during the winter and spring—the length of the layoff depended on the weather. Heater earned unemployment during the periods of ...


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