IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF TAMMY MARLENE WASSON AND JAMES HENRY WASSON Upon the Petition of TAMMY MARLENE WASSON, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning JAMES HENRY WASSON, Respondent-Appellant.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Greene County, Joel E. Swanson, Judge.
A father challenges the provisions of the parties' dissolution decree awarding joint physical care, spousal support, and partial attorney fees.
Mark J. Rasmussen, Jefferson, for appellant.
Vicki R. Copeland of Wilcox, Polking, Gerken, Schwarzkopf, Copeland & Williams, P.C., Jefferson, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.
James Wasson appeals from the decree dissolving his marriage to Tammy Wasson. He contends the district court erred in granting joint physical care of the parties' two minor children, in requiring him to pay spousal support, and in ordering him to pay $1500 of Tammy's trial attorney fees. In response, Tammy requests we affirm the district court's decree and seeks an award of appellate attorney fees. Upon review, we affirm the decree of the district court and award Tammy appellate attorney fees.
I. Background Facts.
James and Tammy married in April 1987. At that time James was in the United States Navy and Tammy was unemployed. James continued his employment with the military during a significant portion of their marriage. Until his retirement from the military in 2005, he spent approximately half of each year away from the family serving at various military posts. After his retirement the family moved to Jefferson, Iowa. James took a position as a conductor with the railroad. Except for a two-year period when she was an uncertified nurse's aide, Tammy was a stay-at-home-mom to the couple's four children until 2008.
Tammy filed for divorce in February 2011. When she filed the parties' two remaining minor children lived with Tammy; James was living elsewhere in Jefferson with his girlfriend. In her petition Tammy sought physical care of the children, child and spousal support, and an award of trial attorney fees, although at trial she requested joint physical care. James' answer denied Tammy's entitlement to any monetary support and requested sole physical care of their children.
In March 2011, the district court awarded temporary physical care of the children to Tammy and ordered James to pay temporary child support, temporary spousal support, and $400 in temporary attorney fees.
In November 2011, James filed a motion seeking review of the March 2011 order. In support he filed affidavits from both minor daughters in which they stated their desire to reside with him. The court modified the temporary order: the parties were to share physical care, with the children residing with James from Sunday at 7:30 p.m. to Friday at 5:00 p.m., and with Tammy the rest of the time, and neither party was required to pay child or spousal support.
At the time of trial Tammy was employed part-time by the Jefferson-Scranton school district and part-time by the Greene County Medical Center, earning $12, 516 annually. James had an annual income of $33, 280 from his job at Boone Cable Works, as well as an annual military pension in the sum of $18, 077, and $1524 in annual disability payments. Each daughter expressed a desire to live with James at the trial.
After the trial, on May 10, 2012, the district court issued a dissolution decree awarding joint physical care of the parties' two minor children; requiring James to pay Tammy child support in the amount of $355.78 per month; and awarding "traditional" spousal support in the amount of $250 per ...