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In re Marriage of Kragel

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 23, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF LEISHA F. KRAGEL AND RANDALL P. KRAGEL, Upon the Petition of LEISHA F. KRAGEL, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning RANDALL P. KRAGEL, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Ida County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge. Petitioner appeals the economic provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.

Dee Ann Wunschel of Wunschel Law Firm, P.C., Carroll, for appellant.

Irene A. Schrunk, Sioux City, for appellee.

Heard by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Mahan, S.J. [*]

MAHAN, S.J.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

Randall and Leisha Kragel were married in 1981. They have two children who are now adults. Leisha filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in October 2009. The dissolution hearing took place over the course of six days between April and December 2011.

Randall was fifty-two years old at the time of the dissolution. He has a high school degree. Randall's family has two small, closely-held corporations, and he worked for them for most of his life. Kragel Farm Corp. owns several parcels of land. Kragel, Inc. is in the business of constructing grain bins. Randall receives an annual salary of $26, 000 per year from Kragel, Inc. During the marriage Randall received stock in both Kragel Farm Corp. and Kragel, Inc. from his parents.[1] Randall's mother, Bernadine Kragel, testified these gifts were made to Randall alone and not to Randall and Leisha as a couple.

In 1989 Randall entered into a farming partnership with his brother, Neil Kragel under the name Kragel Brothers. Kragel Brothers owns 409 acres of farmland, a grain bin, a machine shed, machinery, and equipment. Kragel Brothers farmed the land owned by Kragel Farm Corp. and some land owned individually by Neil. In 2010 Randall earned $287, 683 from Kragel Brothers. The district court determined Randall's interest in Kragel Brothers was worth $2, 634, 656.

At the time of the dissolution Leisha was fifty years old. She has a high school degree. For a few years Leisha acted as a part-time secretary for Kragel Farm Corp. and Kragel, Inc. and as a bookkeeper at her mother-in-law's grocery store. She has also worked as a school bus driver. In 2010 Leisha began working part-time at a nursing home, where she earns $15, 925 per year. Throughout the marriage Leisha also helped with farm work when called upon to do so, in addition to caring for the home and the children.

The district court entered a dissolution decree for the parties on March 26, 2012. The court determined Randall's shares in Kragel Farm Corp. and Kragel, Inc. had been received by gift and should be set aside to him. The court also set aside to Randall a portion of the value of the marital residence as a premarital asset. The court valued the parties' assets as of September 30, 2011. The court awarded Randall net marital assets valued at $1, 954, 546 and Leisha net marital assets valued at $609, 283. The court ordered Randall to pay an equalization payment of $672, 631, payable over a period of eight years. The district court ordered Randall to pay rehabilitative alimony to Leisha of $5000 per month for eight years, and then $3000 per month for a period of two years. Additionally, the court ordered Randall to pay $30, 000 toward Leisha's trial attorney fees.

Both parties filed motions pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2). The district court denied both motions. Leisha now appeals the economic provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.[2]

II. Standard of Review.

In this equity action our review is de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. In equity cases, we give weight to the fact findings of the district court, especially on credibility issues, but we are not bound by the court's findings. Iowa R. App. P. 6.904(3)(g). We examine the entire record and adjudicate anew rights on the issues properly presented. In re Marriage of Ales, 592 N.W.2d 698, 702 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999).

III. Property Division.

In matters of property distribution, we are guided by Iowa Code section 598.21 (2009). Iowa courts do not require an equal division or percentage distribution. In re Marriage of Campbell, 623 N.W.2d 585, 586 (Iowa Ct. App. 2001). The determining factor is what is fair and equitable in each particular circumstance. In re Marriage of Miller, 552 N.W.2d 460, 463 (Iowa Ct. App. 1996). In considering the economic provisions in a dissolution decree, we will disturb a district court's ruling "only when there has been a failure to do equity." In re Marriage of Smith, 573 N.W.2d, 924, 926 (Iowa 1998) (citations omitted). We look to the economic ...


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