Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Myron L. Gookin, Judge.
Petitioner appeals the division of property in the parties' dissolution decree.
Lars G. Anderson of Holland & Anderson, L.L.P., Iowa City, for appellant.
Katie Mitchell of Tindal Law Office, P.L.C., Washington, for appellee.
Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.
Belinda Peiffer, now known as Belinda Voelschow, appeals the division of property in the parties' dissolution decree. She claims the district court should have awarded her a portion of the value of rental properties Kevin Peiffer owned before their marriage. In the alternative, she argues the court should have awarded her at least a portion of the increase in value of those properties. Kevin requests attorney fees for this appeal. We affirm the district court's division of property and deny the request for appellate attorney fees.
I. Background Facts & Proceedings
Kevin and Belinda were married in April 2005 and it was a second marriage for both parties. They each brought assets to the marriage. Kevin owned six rental properties as well as the home the parties used as the marital residence. Kevin testified that at the time of the marriage his net worth was $683, 364. Belinda owned a home in La Porte City, and other assets, but testified she did not know the premarital value of those assets. However, Kevin testified Belinda had a premarital net worth of $98, 916.
At the time of the dissolution hearing in May 2012, Kevin was fifty-three years old. He had a high school degree and had completed a post-high school course in auto mechanics. In 2004, Kevin had back surgery, which left him unable to do continuous hard physical labor. Throughout the marriage Kevin's primary source of income was rental payments received from his properties.The parties' tax returns showed these properties were operated for a net loss.
Belinda was fifty-two years old at the time of the dissolution hearing. She had a college degree and had completed most of the credits for a master's degree. Belinda was employed as a teacher for the Iowa Braille School, where she had an annual income of about $60, 000. Belinda was in good health.
During the parties' marriage, Kevin sold one of his rental properties. The proceeds of $52, 326 were used for everyday expenses. Belinda sold her home in La Porte City and received proceeds of $71, 500. A portion of those proceeds were reinvested in a property in Jesup, Iowa, which the parties also used as rental property. In addition, the parties refinanced the marital residence and a portion of those funds were used to obtain two additional rental properties.
The parties agreed to a division of assets and liabilities that would give Belinda the Jesup property and Kevin the other rental properties, which represented his source of income. This resulted in Kevin receiving assets of $931, 038 and liabilities of $153, 957, giving him a net worth of $777, 081. Belinda received assets worth $232, 158, and liabilities of $14, 800, giving her a net worth of $217, 358. The parties disputed whether Belinda would receive a cash property settlement to offset the award of the rental properties to Kevin. In the alternative, Belinda sought to receive a portion of the increase in value of the rental properties during the marriage.
The district court allocated the assets and debts to the parties according to their agreement. The court determined Belinda should receive a cash property settlement of $64, 000. This amount represented $15, 000 as her interest in the increased value of the marital residence and $49, 000 as her interest in the rental properties obtained during the marriage. After the cash property settlement, Kevin received net assets valued at $713, 081 and Belinda received net assets valued at $281, 358. The court noted that while "Kevin leaves the marriage with substantially more value than Belinda, Kevin entered the marriage with substantially more value than Belinda." The court found Belinda received a ...