IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF LISA ANNE DUFFY AND MICHAEL J. DUFFY Upon the Petition of LISA ANNE DUFFY, n/k/a LISA ANNE MORRISON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning MICHAEL J. DUFFY, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Robert E.
appeals from the provisions of the dissolution decree
dividing the parties' property, awarding spousal support,
and awarding attorney fees. Petitioner also appeals the trial
court's denial of her motion for new trial. AFFIRMED AS
E. Bergus of Hayek, Moreland, Smith & Bergus, L.L.P.,
Iowa City, for appellant.
Rebecca A. Feiereisen of Arenson Law Group, P.C., Cedar
Rapids, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
Duffy appeals the property provisions of the dissolution
decree and the denial of her motion for new trial. She claims
the trial court erred in dividing the property, awarding
attorney fees, and determining the amount of spousal support.
We affirm the district court's property division and
award of attorney fees, but we modify the equalization
payment from $69, 817.30 to $74, 439.83. We affirm the trial
court's denial of Lisa's motion for new trial.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Michael Duffy were married in 1992. At the time of trial,
Lisa was forty-five and Michael was forty-six years old. Four
children were born of the marriage, but the children reached
the age of eighteen before the time of trial.
earned a bachelor's degree. After college, Michael worked
multiple jobs to support the family. Eventually, Michael and
Lisa purchased Match Play Tennis Centers (Match Play) for
five dollars. At the time of trial, Michael was a fifty
percent owner in Match Play, where he also worked
full-time and received a salary of $85, 819.76. He also
received a management fee of $32, 500. Michael's income
was based on a management agreement between Match Play and
Rockwell Collins, which requires Match Play to furnish
recreation services to Rockwell's employees. Michael also
entered into a buy-sell agreement with the other Match Play
owner in which each owner agreed to a buyout price of $86.67
per share. It is unclear how the owners came up with the
valuation. Match Play has no other management or service
also earned her bachelor's degree. The parties both
decided that Lisa would care for the house and children.
Beginning in1998, Lisa worked for United Parcel Service (UPS)
for approximately five years. She also worked at Coe College
for approximately three months in 2007. Lisa was not employed
at the time of trial.
suffers from multiple health-related issues, including
arthritis, chronic sinusitis, recurring MRSA infections,
ADHD, hypothyroidism, Steven Johnson syndrome, depression,
and anxiety. Lisa applied for social security disability
benefits based on her medical conditions. The request was
initially rejected and Lisa's appeal was pending during
trial. After the trial ended and the decree had been filed,
Lisa received a notice of award letter granting Lisa's
appeal, in which it was determined she became disabled on
April 13, 2007.
January 22, 2014, Lisa filed a petition for dissolution of
marriage. At trial, the court heard contradicting testimony
about multiple assets and liabilities. The parties disagreed
about the value of the home, whether $25, 000 from
Michael's mother was a loan, and whether the Match Play
credit card balance was marital debt.
court also heard testimony from Denny Redmond, Match
Play's accountant. Redmond testified that Match Play had
no value. His opinion was based on Match Play's status as
an S-corporation, which passes all the net income and
expenses through to the shareholders based on a pro-rated
share of the stock ownership. Redmond confirmed the business
had no assets other than a contract that paid the owners a
management fee. The contract could be terminated at any time
with sixty days' notice. Redmond also testified that
owners' salaries should not not used to determine a
27, 2016, the court issued its decree dividing the
parties' assets equally, awarding attorney fees, and
requiring an equalization payment from Michael to Lisa. The
court determined the $25, 000 from Michael's mother was a
loan and assigned the debt to Michael. The court also
determined the Match Play credit card balance was marital
debt and assigned the debt to Michael. Based on its valuation
of the assets, the court concluded Michael should pay Lisa an
equalization amount of $74, 439.83. However, the court's
order instructed Michael to pay only $69, 817.30. The court
also awarded Lisa $5000 in attorney fees.
in part on the discrepancy between the equalization payment
amounts in the decree, Lisa filed a motion to reconsider,
amend, and enlarge the trial courts filings. She also filed a
motion for new trial arguing the "newly discovered"
disability award would have changed the results of the trial.
The trial court denied both motions. Lisa appealed.
Standard of Review.
action for the dissolution of marriage is an equitable
proceeding. Iowa Code § 598.3 (2014). Therefore, our
review is de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; In re Marriage
of Schenkelberg, 824 N.W.2d 481, 484 (Iowa 2012).
Although we give weight to the factual determinations of the
trial court, especially regarding credibility determinations,
its findings are not binding upon us. Iowa R. App. P.
6.904(3)(g); In re Marriage of Brown, 776 N.W.2d
644, 647 (Iowa 2009). We examine the entire record and
adjudicate anew rights on the issues properly presented.
In re Marriage of Ales, 592 N.W.2d 698, 702 (Iowa
Ct. App. 1999). We give the trial court ...