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In re Marriage of Rasmusson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 5, 2013

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF GARY LEE RASMUSSON AND TERESA ANN RASMUSSON Upon the Petition of GARY LEE RASMUSSON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning TERESA ANN RASMUSSON, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

A husband appeals the district court's property division provision of the dissolution decree and the court's denial of his motion for a new trial.

D. Raymond Walton of Beecher Law Offices, Waterloo, for appellant.

David H. Correll of Correll, Sheerer, Benson, Engels, Galles & Demro, PLC, Cedar Falls, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

MULLINS, J.

Gary Rasmusson appeals the district court's decree dissolving his nine-year marriage to Teresa Rasmusson. Gary claims the district court should not have awarded Teresa the full value of her 401(k) plan. He also claims the district court should have granted his motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Because we find the property division equitable in light of Teresa's disability, we affirm the district court's dissolution decree. We also affirm the district court's denial of Gary's motion for a new trial because the evidence he cites of his alleged post-decree disability is not newly discovered evidence.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.

Gary and Teresa married in December 2003. This was Teresa's second marriage and Gary's first. Teresa brought into the marriage a home she had been awarded in her previous dissolution. A little over a year before the marriage, she borrowed $50, 000 using the house as security. She also had approximately $58, 000 in a 401(k) plan through her employer before the marriage. Gary came to the marriage with little to no assets. During the course of the marriage, Teresa took care of most of the couple's finances. They signed an additional loan on the house during the marriage to pay off various debts. Both of the loans remained outstanding at the time of the dissolution, and one lender had initiated foreclosure proceedings.

In December of 2011, Teresa suffered a stroke. As a result she is no longer employed and is receiving social security disability along with disability benefits from a plan she maintained with her former employer. The employer disability plan only provides benefits until Teresa reaches age sixty-five. At the time of the dissolution, Teresa was fifty-eight.

Gary was fifty at the time of the dissolution and remained employed earning $12.10 an hour. He was contributing to a 401(k) through his employer, though the value of Gary's plan was substantially less than Teresa's.

Following the trial, the district court determined it was equitable to award Teresa the full value of her 401(k), approximately $136, 000 with a loan in the amount of $17, 000 against it. The court reached this conclusion because of Teresa's stroke and the fact she was no longer able to be employed. Her sole source of income for the remainder of her life would be her disability payments, social security, and her 401(k), which she will no longer be able to increase. Gary, on the other hand, was eight years younger, in good health, and still capable of saving his earnings for retirement. Gary was awarded his 401(k), which at that time had a balance of approximately $17, 000 with a loan in the amount of $4400 against it.

The court also ordered the house to be sold and the proceeds, if any, divided equally between the parties. The court permitted Gary to live in the house and ordered him to make all mortgage payments except for the amount paid by Teresa's disability policy. Once that policy expired, Gary would then be responsible to make all mortgage payments.

The court divided the parties' personal property and liabilities, but because those items are not in dispute on appeal, we ...


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