IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF DANIEL ROYCE BEATTIE AND CHARLENE FELICIA BEATTIE Upon the Petition of DANIEL ROYCE BEATTIE, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning CHARLENE FELICIA BEATTIE, Respondent-Appellee.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Sherman W. Phipps, Judge.
Daniel Beattie appeals from the spousal support and property distribution provisions of the decree dissolving his marriage to Charlene Beattie.
Robert L. Stuyvesant of Stuyvesant & Benton, Carlisle, for appellant.
Patricia M. Hulting, Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.
Daniel Beattie appeals from the alimony and property distribution provisions of the decree dissolving his marriage to Charlene Beattie. He argues the district court erred in its calculation of his income and resulting spousal support order, as well as in ordering him to pay for half of the monthly mortgage for the parties' marital home. Charlene requests appellate attorney fees. We affirm, finding the court's spousal support and property distribution provisions to be equitable.
I. Facts and Proceedings.
Daniel and Charlene Beattie were married in 1989. The parties had four children during the marriage: three children who still are minors and one adult child, who is disabled. Charlene is the legal guardian of the adult disabled child, who lives separately from the family.
Dan received a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in divinity during the marriage. He was ordained as a minister in 1996, and has worked in that occupation on and off during the marriage. Charlene has a bachelor's degree in broadcast communication which she received during the marriage. As agreed by Charlene and Daniel, Charlene stayed at home with the children, home-schooling them, for most of the marriage. At times Charlene worked part-time to supplement the household income. In the four years prior to the divorce, Daniel's annual income was around $29, 000 a year. The year of the divorce, however, Daniel worked for a landscaping company earning ten dollars an hour. After the parties separated, Charlene began working several part-time jobs which, in total, provided an annual income as calculated by the court of $35, 328. During the marriage, the parties bought a home. The home is valued at $240, 000 with an outstanding mortgage of $38, 000. The monthly payment for this mortgage is approximately $388.
Daniel filed a petition to dissolve the marriage in July of 2011. Both parties sought joint legal custody of the children. The parents struggled with communicating about the children's education and religious training.
Trial took place in the district court on March 29, 2012. The court heard testimony from both parties, and awarded sole legal custody of the children to Charlene. Daniel received liberal visitation. Daniel does not appeal this portion of the decree. The court ordered Daniel to pay $300 a month for thirty-six months to Charlene as rehabilitative spousal support to be paid, according to Charlene's request, in ten years as a lump sum offset to the division of proceeds from the sale of the marital home. The parties were otherwise to divide the proceeds of the sale of the marital home equally. In the interim, Charlene and the minor children could live in the home. Daniel was ordered to pay half of the monthly mortgage payment. Daniel appeals from the spousal support and property division provisions of the decree.
We review dissolution of marriage proceedings de novo, as they are equitable in nature. In re Marriage of Kimbro, 826 N.W.2d 696, 698 (Iowa 2013). We defer to the factual findings of the district court but are not bound by them. Id. We will disturb the district court's decision where it fails to do equity. Id. We give deference to the credibility findings of the district court as it had a firsthand opportunity to view ...