IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF MALISSA NIKOLE MOURTON AND RUSSELL EDWARD MOURTON Upon the Petition of MALISSA NIKOLE MOURTON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning RUSSELL EDWARD MOURTON, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Hamilton County, Michael J.
mother appeals from the provision of the dissolution decree
giving the parties joint physical care. AFFIRMED.
McGrevey, Fort Dodge, for appellant.
A. Kenville of Kenville Law Firm, P.C., Fort Dodge, for
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower,
Mourton appeals from the provisions of the district
court's dissolution decree concerning her three minor
children with Russell Mourton. Malissa challenges the
court's placement of the parties' children in joint
physical care of the parents rather than awarding Malissa
physical care of the children. Russell did not file a brief
in this matter. We affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
2009, Justin and Malissa were married in Webster City after
living together since 2004. Justin and Malissa have three
minor children: B.N.M., who was born in 2001; A.R.M., who was
born in 2005; and, A.H.M. who was born in 2007.
works as a lineman for the City of Webster City under a
traditional forty-hour workweek (7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). He
is also required to be on call one week per month (4:00 p.m.
to 7:00 a.m.). Malissa does not work outside the home and
suffers from systemic lupus and bipolar disorder. Prior to
the lupus diagnosis, Malissa experienced a variety of medical
complications resulting from autoimmune issues, including
seizures, chronic pain, and headaches. The record indicates
that her current treatment plan controls the most serious
side effects. Although her current symptoms are sporadic, she
sometimes suffers from fatigue and impaired mental function.
The long-term prognosis of Malissa's medical conditions
is unclear from the record.
to the dissolution action, Malissa primarily cared for the
children with her parents' assistance. Malissa's
parents moved to Webster City and purchased a house in the
same neighborhood as the marital home. The relocation allowed
them to help Malissa with her medical conditions and the
day-to-day activities of child rearing. Malissa's parents
intend to remain in Webster City indefinitely.
attended the children's musical concerts, soccer games,
Cub Scout meetings, and she participated in local church
activities. When Russell was not at work, he spent time with
the children by attending their musical concerts, soccer
games, Cub Scout Meetings, and school conferences. Russell
also enjoyed various outdoor activities with the children.
Both Malissa and Russell intend to remain in Webster City.
25, 2015, Malissa filed a petition for dissolution of
marriage asking, in part, for physical care of the children.
On July 10, 2015, Russell filed an answer also seeking
physical care of the children.
and Malissa both remained in the marital home during the
pre-trial proceedings. Although Malissa had requested
exclusive possession of the marital home during the temporary
orders proceeding, the court did not grant her request. The
temporary order provided for joint physical care of the
children as long as the parents were both living in the
marital home. As time went on, the already tense environment
in the marital home worsened. In August 2015, Russell was
arrested for child endangerment, but the charges were
eventually dismissed by the court. The Iowa Department of
Human Services (DHS) investigated multiple abuse allegations,
including the incident from the ...