IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF AMANDA JO WILSON AND RYAN EUGENE WILSON Upon the Petition of AMANDA JO WILSON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning RYAN EUGENE WILSON, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Lucy J.
mother appeals from the provisions of the district
court's dissolution decree concerning her three minor
children and spousal support. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.
C. Wagner of John C. Wagner Law Offices, P.C., Amana, for
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellee.
by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
Wilson appeals from the provisions of the district
court's dissolution decree concerning her three minor
children and spousal support. Amanda challenges the
court's placement of the parties' children in Ryan
Wilson's physical care. She also challenges the denial of
rehabilitative spousal support. We affirm as modified.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Amanda were married on January 26, 2006. At the time of
trial, Ryan was thirty-seven years old and Amanda was thirty.
They have three children born of the marriage: C.M.W., who
was ten at the time of trial; C.R.W., who was eight; and
C.J.W., who was six. Amanda has a child from another
relationship who is not a part of this proceeding. On July
28, 2014, Amanda filed a petition for dissolution of
to C.M.W.'s birth, Amanda worked at a retail
establishment part-time. She was forced to end her employment
after she was put on bed rest during her pregnancy with
C.M.W. Following C.M.W.'s birth, Amanda worked as a
stay-at-home parent for the majority of the marriage. She was
responsible for the care of the children. Her role included
keeping the children on a schedule, cleaning, feeding the
children, taking the children on vacation, attending school
conferences, and other child-rearing activities. Both parties
acknowledge that Amanda was successful in her role. In 2012,
Amanda helped start a non-profit organization where she
eventually became a paid employee, but this role only lasted
for two years. At the time of trial, she worked as a
part-time substitute teacher in the Sigourney Community
School District, where she now lives.
earned a technical degree and was subsequently hired as a
lineman. In 2008, he achieved journeyman status. His job
required long hours and frequent travel. It was not uncommon
for him to travel for extended periods. Ryan's average
earnings were approximately $104, 000 annually. At the time
of trial, however, Ryan was laid off from his employment. He
declined to search for additional employment on the belief
his employer would recall him. In the event his former
employer did not recall him, Ryan testified that he could
find new employment quickly. The district court imputed $90,
000 of income for purposes of child support.
2014, the parties' relationship took an abrupt turn.
Amanda decided to move herself and the children with her
friend, Brandon Cundiff,  to Pennsylvania without giving any
notice to Ryan. Amanda claims Ryan's drinking problem
forced her to move. She testified that Ryan would drink to
the point of passing out on multiple occasions. Ryan disputes
his drinking was so excessive. Following Amanda's move,
Ryan obtained a temporary injunction requiring that the
children be returned to live at the marital home in Brooklyn,
Iowa, and attend school in their previous school district,
BGM. Ryan then drove to Pennsylvania to pick up the children.
The situation caused the children to miss the first day of
temporary custody order entered on September 2, 2014,
awarded Ryan physical care of the three children. Ryan took a
week off from work to ensure the children were adjusting to
the new arrangement. Ryan also arranged the children's
care during work hours and ensured help for the children to
prepare for educational and extracurricular activities.
According to testimony, the children were thriving under
Ryan's physical care. On October 13, 2014, the court
entered a temporary visitation order establishing visitation
rights for Amanda, who remained in Pennsylvania.
around February 1, 2015, Amanda suffered from a mental-health
issue that required a short hospital stay. Following the
stay, she continued to seek treatment for depression.
Subsequent medical reports indicated that she was "on a
positive trajectory towards overall well-being" and did
not require any medication as of March 2015. These issues
became the center of multiple visitation disputes. In a
motion to compel dated June 19, 2015, Amanda claimed Ryan was
denying visitation. Ryan claimed he was concerned about the
children's well-being under Amanda's care, and he
would comply with the visitation requests on the condition
Amanda disclosed her medical records. In its June 24, 2015
ruling, the court ordered one week of visitation for Amanda
and required Amanda to disclose her medical records through a
September 1, 2015, after over a year in Pennsylvania, Amanda
returned to Iowa with her current
fiancé. On September 14, 2015, the court modified
the temporary order by increasing Amanda's visitation
time with the children. Following the trial, the court
awarded physical care to Ryan and denied Amanda's request
for spousal support. The court also awarded an equalization
payment from Ryan to Amanda for $30, 005.76 payable at $1000
per month until paid in full, and Ryan must pay for $5000 of
Amanda's attorney fees at $500 per month. Amanda appeals
the physical care and spousal support provisions of the
decree. Amanda also seeks appellate attorney fees.