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In re Marriage of Calhoun

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2014

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF THERESA LYNN CALHOUN AND JOSEPH ALLEN CALHOUN; Upon the Petition of THERESA LYNN CALHOUN, Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, And Concerning JOSEPH ALLEN CALHOUN, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge. A husband appeals the economic provisions of the district court's dissolution decree. The wife cross-appeals.

Michael R. Brown of Brown Law Office, P.C., Fairfield, for appellant.

J. Terrence Denefe of Denefe, Gardner, & Zingg, P.C., Ottumwa, for appellee.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Potterfield, JJ.

OPINION

DANILSON, C.J.

Joseph Calhoun appeals the economic provisions of the dissolution decree and the ruling on a motion to enlarge and amend. Specifically, he appeals the district court's award to him of twenty-five percent of the appreciation in farmland. He also appeals the court's distribution of property. Theresa Calhoun cross-appeals the economic provisions. She contends it was inequitable for the court to award any of the appreciation of the farmland to Joseph. She contends the equalization payment to Joseph was inequitable. We conclude Joseph contributed to the increase in the value of the farmland with his monies and labor but determine the overall property distribution was equitable to both parties. Upon our de novo review, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

Theresa and Joseph were married on September 8, 2011. The parties had no children together. Theresa filed a petition for dissolution on November 29, 2011. Trial was held on February 15, 2013, and the district court filed the dissolution decree on February 25, 2013.

At the time of the dissolution hearing, Theresa was forty-three years old and employed by Hy-Vee, where she earned $9.00 per hour. She worked between eight and eighteen hours per week and took care of her father with her remaining time. Joseph was fifty-three years old and was unemployed. He received social security disability benefits in the net amount of $1200 per month.

Prior to the parties' marriage, Theresa received gifts of two farms from her father. The Packwood farm was purchased for $200,000 shortly before the parties married, although testimony at the dissolution hearing indicated the property was worth $278,500 at the time Theresa and Joseph married. The Henry County farm was purchased for $212,000, although testimony indicated it was worth $262,000 at the time the parties married in September 2011.

It was undisputed that during the parties' marriage, Joseph expended considerable time and money to convert the farms for row crops. As the district court summarized:

When the parties were married, both farms were primarily pasture ground, and the home on the Packwood farm was in need of improvements. Respondent expended considerable time and money to convert these farms for row crops use, a use which he claimed makes the farms more profitable. With respect to the Packwood farm home, Respondent cleaned around the home and outbuildings, removed fences and trees, hauled away trash and debris, helped to construct a pole barn, did general landscaping, and performed other jobs as shown on Respondent's Exhibit D. With respect to the 37 acres of pasture on the Packwood farm, Respondent removed all fencing, old farm equipment, old tires in the pasture, helped tile and terrace the pasture, spread lime ...

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