REESE R. PETERSEN, Petitioner-Appellant,
STACIA M. NIELSEN, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Marlita A.
father appeals the physical care and visitation provisions of
a paternity decree. AFFIRMED.
D. Bruhn of Farwell & Bruhn, Clinton, for appellant.
J. McGee of Robert J. McGee, P.C., Clinton, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Petersen appeals the physical care and visitation provisions
of a paternity decree. We find the district court properly
placed physical care of the parties' two children with
Stacea Nielsen. We make no adjustments to the visitation
schedule. We do not address Reese's claim regarding the
no-contact order. We affirm the decision of the district
court. We determine Stacea should be awarded $4800 for
appellate attorney fees.
Background Facts & Proceedings
and Stacea previously lived together but never married. They
are the parents of two children, L.R.P., born in 2014, and
W.R.P., born in 2016. The parties separated prior to the birth
of W.R.P. On May 6, 2016, Reese filed a petition to establish
paternity of the two children.
parties initially had a joint physical care arrangement for
L.R.P. but this caused the child behavioral problems. On
August 9, 2016, the parents entered into a stipulated
temporary order placing the children in the physical care of
Stacea and granting Reese visitation. The order provided the
parents "shall have no personal contact with one another
except for exchanging the children."
paternity hearing was held on October 18, 2016. Reese, who
was then thirty years old, was the sole practitioner in a
chiropractic clinic. Stacea was twenty-six years old at the
time of the hearing and was employed as an occupational
therapist. Reese has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety,
and obsessive compulsive disorder, and takes medication for
his condition. Stacea testified Reese did not function very
well when he did not take his medication. She also testified
Reese sometimes exhibited aggressive behavior. There was an
incident while Stacea was pregnant with W.R.P., where Reese
and Stacea were in a tussle on the floor, Reese would not get
off of Stacea's abdomen, and she bit him on the back so
he would get up. Stacea obtained a protective order after an
incident where Reese pushed Stacea into a corner while she
was holding W.R.P. and yelled at her.
the parties separated, Reese would often go to the
children's daycare, which was operated by Stacea's
relatives, and sit in the kitchen area. He would cry and
discuss his relationship with Stacea, keeping the daycare
providers from their jobs watching the children. Eventually,
the daycare obtained a restraining order to keep Reese from
district court entered an order on December 7, 2016. The
court found Stacea's testimony to be more credible than
Reece's testimony. The court granted the parties joint
legal custody and placed the children in Stacea's
physical care. The court found joint physical care would be
inappropriate based on the parties' inability to
communicate and Reese's history of domestic abuse. The
court noted Stacea had been the children's primary
caretaker. Reese was granted visitation on alternating
weekends, one night during the week, alternating holidays,
and two weeks in the summer. He was ordered to pay child
support for the children. Reese now appeals the district