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In re Marriage of White

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 7, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF APRIL DENISE WHITE AND JAY DAVID WHITE Upon the Petition of APRIL DENISE WHITE, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning JAY DAVID WHITE, Respondent-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Chickasaw County, Joel A. Dalrymple, Judge.

Jay David White appeals from the decree dissolving his marriage to April White, contending the district court's denial of his request for alimony was inequitable.

Ralph Smith of Noah, Smith & Schuknecht, Charles City, for appellant.

James P. Moriarty of James P. Moriarty, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellee.

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

DOYLE, P.J.

Jay David White (David) appeals from the decree dissolving his marriage to April White. He contends the district court's denial of his request for alimony was inequitable. We affirm as modified.

I. Scope and Standards of Review.

We review this equity action involving the dissolution of a marriage de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; In re Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671, 676 (Iowa 2013). Accordingly, we examine the entire record and decide anew the legal and factual issues properly presented and preserved for our review. McDermott, 827 N.W.2d at 676. We give weight to the findings of the district court, particularly concerning the credibility of witnesses; however, those findings are not binding upon us. Id.; see also Iowa R. App. P. 6.904(3)(g). Only when there has been a failure to do equity will we disturb the district court's ruling. McDermott, 827 N.W.2d at 676. Finally, we note that because we base our decision on the unique facts of each case, precedent is of little value. In re Marriage of Brown, 776 N.W.2d 644, 647 (Iowa 2009).

II. Background Facts and Proceedings.

David and April married in 1986 and they moved to Indianapolis that year. Three children were born of the marriage. In January 2012, April filed her petition seeking dissolution of the parties' marriage.

Trial was held in October 2012. David and April were in agreement on several matters, including that they would have joint custody of their children with April having physical care. They were also in agreement as to the division of certain assets and liabilities, and they entered into a stipulated agreement which was accepted and adopted by the court. Issues for trial included division of the parties' remaining assets and debts, child support, and David's request for rehabilitative and traditional spousal support.

David was forty-eight years of age at the time of trial. He held an associate's degree in biomedical electronics and was certified as a Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET). In 1998, he and outside partners formed a business ("business") that engaged in the sales and service of anesthesia machines. David's service territory was the Indianapolis metropolitan area. In 1998 and 1999, David earned an average of not quite $50, 000 a year. His income from the business increased over the next five years, earning an average of about $90, 000 per year. In 2005 and 2006, his income decreased to almost $60, 000 per year, but it then improved greatly in 2007 and 2008, earning an average of $153, 000 per year those two years. His earnings from 1998 to 2008 averaged out to $88, 000 per year.

April was forty-nine years of age at the time of trial. Throughout the parties' marriage, she worked as a nurse, and she continually furthered her education. From 1998 to 2006, April's annual earnings average was $59, 000. In 2006, she began school thereafter in Tennessee to obtain her degree as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and the family moved from Indiana to ...


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