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In re Marriage of Mihm

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 21, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF MELISSA JO MIHM AND SCOTT ANTHONY MIHM Upon the Petition of MELISSA JO MIHM, n/k/a MELISSA JO WEBER, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, And Concerning SCOTT ANTHONY MIHM, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

The petitioner appeals the district court's denial of her motion to modify the child custody provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.

Judith O'Donohoe of Elwood, O'Donohoe, Braun, White, L.L.P., Charles City, for appellant.

Dale L. Putnam of Putnam Law Office, Decorah, for appellee.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

EISENHAUER, C.J.

As part of a stipulation incorporated into their dissolution of marriage decree, Scott and Melissa Mihm agreed Scott would pay child support in an amount below the child support guidelines. One year later, Melissa sought modification of the child support award. She appeals the district court order denying her request.

Because Melissa has failed to show both a substantial change in the parties' circumstances since entry of the decree and injustice resulting from its continued enforcement, we affirm the order denying her motion to modify. We also find the district court was within its discretion to deny Scott's request for trial attorney fees, and we award no attorney fees on appeal.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Melissa and Scott were married in 1997 and have three children. Melissa filed a petition to dissolve the marriage in 2008.

In January 2009, the parties entered a written stipulation resolving matters of child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. They agreed Melissa would be the children's physical caregiver, and the stipulation sets forth Scott's visitation schedule. As part of the property settlement, Scott agreed to pay Melissa $500, 000 with $100, 000 due one week after entry of the decree and the remaining $400, 000 payable in eight annual installments of $50, 000. The parties also agreed Scott would pay Melissa $500 per month in spousal support for a period of sixty months. For child support, the stipulation specifically states the parties "have considered all relevant factors and understand the current status of their financial condition" before setting Scott's child support obligation at $1500 per month—considerably below the amount provided for in the child support guidelines. The court incorporated the stipulation into its decree.

On June 10, 2009, Scott filed a petition to modify the child custody provisions of the decree based on Melissa's move of sixty miles. Melissa counterclaimed for an increase in child support. Scott later added a claim to terminate the spousal support provision of the decree because Melissa had remarried.

The parties stipulated to a modification of child custody with Melissa retaining physical care of the two younger children, while placing the oldest child with Scott. The remaining matters of spousal and child support proceeded to a hearing on September 7, 2012. In its September 25, 2012 order, the court terminated the ...


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