IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF MELISSA A. PENALUNA AND DANIEL T. PENALUNA
Upon the Petition of MELISSA A. PENALUNA, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning DANIEL T. PENALUNA, Respondent-Appellee.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Douglas Staskal, Judge.
Melissa Penaluna appeals from the child custody and support provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Daniel Penaluna.
Scott L. Bandstra and Karmen Anderson of Bandstra Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant.
Michael J. Burdette of Burdette Law Firm, P.C., Clive, for appellee.
Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.
Melissa Penaluna appeals from the child custody and support provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Daniel Penaluna. She contends she should be awarded physical care of their two children. In the alternative, she contends she should receive additional visitation. Melissa also contends the child support award should be calculated using Daniel's earning capacity rather than his actual earnings.
Finding only slight disagreement with the trial court's decree, we affirm as modified.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Melissa was born in 1982. She has attended some college, but did not earn a degree. Melissa has completed a pharmacy technician course and has been employed as a medical support assistant at the VA hospital since 2006. She earns $36, 254 per year.
Daniel was born in 1962. He has an MBA degree and is a certified public accountant. Daniel was hired as a controller for LWBJ Financial in August 2007 at a salary of $75, 000 per year, but his position was terminated in November 2008. Daniel struggled to find employment and has begun an accounting business. He expected to earn $20, 000 from this business in 2012.
Melissa and Daniel were married in Las Vegas in February 2002. Their first child, J.P., was born in 2005. C.P. was born in 2010.
The parties' relationship began to deteriorate in 2008. During an argument on July 9, 2009, Daniel grabbed Melissa's wrist and twisted it in an attempt to keep her from destroying a picture. Daniel then blocked Melissa from leaving the house. Melissa called the police, and Daniel was arrested for domestic abuse assault. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and a no-contact order remained in place until October 2008.
To call the parties' relationship between 2008 and 2011 tumultuous would be generous. Melissa called the police to the home on one other occasion and filed several actions for temporary protective orders under Iowa Code chapter 236 (2011). An Iowa Department of Human Services investigation resulted in a founded child abuse report "confirmed but not placed" for denial of critical care of J.P. with Melissa as the perpetrator. The parties ...