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In re Marriage of Brauns

Court of Appeal of Iowa

June 26, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF DAWN D. BRAUNS AND JON A. BRAUNS Upon the Petition of DAWN D. BRAUNS, n/k/a DAWN D. ALBERTSON, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning JON A. BRAUNS, Respondent-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Marlita A. Greve, Judge.

Jon A. Brauns appeals the district court ruling modifying the final decree in his divorce from Dawn D. Albertson.

James W. Affeldt and Robert M. Hogg of Elderkin & Pirnie, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Gregory A. Johnston, Muscatine, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

BOWER, J.

Jon A. Brauns appeals the district court ruling modifying the final decree in his divorce from Dawn D. Albertson. Brauns argues the district court improperly calculated his income for purposes of child support by using an incorrect method to depreciate his business assets. Because we find the method used by the district court to be the most reliable, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Jon A. Brauns and Dawn D. Albertson were divorced on July 26, 2002. The financial support of their two children was provided for in the original decree.

At the time of the decree the parties' combined assets were valued at less than $50, 000, and Brauns was ordered to pay $507 per month in child support. Brauns was employed by Rogers Backhoe during the marriage, but has since purchased his own excavation business. Brauns pays the taxes for the business on a pass-through basis using the self-employment Schedule C. The book value of the business has increased substantially under Brauns's direction and is valued at more than $500, 000.

Brauns argues the nature of the business requires him to replace costly equipment on a regular basis and necessitates the retention and outlay of capital to ensure its continued success.

Albertson filed this action on July 1, 2010, asking to modify the child support and health insurance provisions of the decree. At trial, the district court increased Brauns's support obligation to $1350.94 per month.[1] The health insurance provisions were modified changing the percentage Brauns is required to pay after a minimum threshold has been reached. The support obligation was based upon an average income of $78, 868. Brauns filed a motion to reconsider and argued the district court used an unreliable accounting method to calculate his income. The district court denied the motion.

II. Standard of Review

We review modification of dissolution decrees de novo. In re Marriage of Pals, 714 ...


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