IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF NICOLE L. STICHTER AND BRIAN P. STICHTER Upon the Petition of NICOLE L. STICHTER, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning BRIAN P. STICHTER, Respondent-Appellant.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Joel W. Barrows, Judge.
Brian P. Stichter appeals the district court's order awarding Nicole L. Stichter physical care of their daughter.
Michael J. Koury Jr. of Bush, Motto, Creen, Koury & Halligan, Davenport, for appellant.
Justin A. Teitle of Teitle Law Offices, Davenport, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Brian Stichter appeals the district court's order awarding Nicole Stichter physical care of their daughter. The district court ordered Brian to pay $552.18 in child support and awarded him the tax exemption for their child. On appeal, Brian argues the district court erred in awarding physical care of their daughter to Nicole. Nicole cross-appeals and argues the district court should have granted her the tax exemption at least every other year. Finally, Nicole asks that this court award her attorneys fees. We affirm.
I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.
Nicole and Brian were married on June 13, 2009. Their only child, G.S., was born in 2010. Brian is thirty-two years old. He works as a machinist at the Rock Island Arsenal and earns approximately $55, 000 annually. He grew up in Eldridge, Iowa, and has lived in the Quad Cities his entire life. Nicole is thirty years old and also works at the Rock Island Arsenal as an administrative assistant. She earns approximately $38, 000 annually. Nicole is from Morrison, Illinois, and has lived in the Quad Cities area most of her life. Both Nicole and Brian plan on remaining in the Quad Cities for the foreseeable future.
Prior to the couple's separation, the record shows they both took an active role in G.S.'s caregiving duties. Brian attended all of Nicole's doctor visits during the pregnancy and was by her bedside when she gave birth. When G.S. was born Brian took a six-week leave from work to care for her and Nicole. Nicole attended night classes until December 2011. During that time Brian shouldered the responsibility for their daughter's care a few nights each week while Nicole attended class. Nicole testified that she trusted Brian with G.S.'s care.
Brian's mom Laurie Stichter provided daycare for G.S. while the couple worked at the Arsenal. Laurie runs a daycare service out of her home located in Eldridge. In April of 2012, Nicole removed G.S. from Laurie's care and enrolled her in the Kettlesen Daycare located in Davenport. Nicole stated she believed the switch benefited G.S. because it would allow her to be around other people and children.
During G.S.'s first year, the couple lived in a house owned by Brian. The couple sold the property in 2011 with the hope of building a new house more suited to their needs. After the house sold, from January 2011 through March 2012 the couple lived in Brian's grandmother's basement. Once the parties separated in March 2012 Nicole moved into her current residence. Brian continues to live with his grandmother.
The trial record reveals the couple endured extensive marital strife. During their marriage Brian occasionally lost his temper, which resulted in incidents of conflict with Nicole. The evidence shows sexual misconduct by both parties. Further facts will be detailed as they pertain to the issues on appeal.
Nicole filed a divorce petition and obtained a temporary restraining order against Brian in April 2012. In the application for the restraining order, Nicole cited a few threatening altercations instigated by Brian, and his generally controlling demeanor. As a result of the restraining order, the parties did not have direct communication in the twelve-month period before the divorce ...