IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF PATRICIA SUE TRIPP AND CRAIG ALAN TRIPP Upon the Petition of PATRICIA SUE TRIPP, Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, And Concerning CRAIG ALAN TRIPP, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County,
Gregory W. Steensland, Judge.
husband appeals, and the wife cross-appeals, from the decree
dissolving their marriage.
D. Hanson and Regan E. Wilson of Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler
& Hagen, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.
Salvo of Salvo, Deren, Schenck, Gross, Swain &
Argotsinger, P.C., Harlan, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Tripp appeals, and Patricia Tripp cross-appeals, from the
decree dissolving their marriage. Craig maintains the
equalization payment he was ordered to pay Patricia-$200,
890-is inequitable and should be reduced by $100, 000. As
part of his justification, he maintains the district court
over-valued the marital home that was awarded to him.
Additionally, Craig claims he should have been awarded the
entirety of his pension. On cross-appeal, Patricia challenges
the numbers the court used in the formula to determine her
portion of Craig's pension. She asks that we otherwise
affirm the decree and award her appellate attorney fees.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Craig were married in 1988. They had two children during
their marriage, who were both adults by the time Patricia
filed for divorce in 2011.
district court dissolved the parties' marriage on June 6,
2013. At that time, no decision was made regarding the
division of property because Craig had serious federal
criminal charges pending. Craig was ultimately convicted of
tax evasion involving a bar the couple owned. Patricia was
not charged, and at the dissolution hearing in July 2016,
Craig testified Patricia had not been involved. Additionally,
Craig testified the back taxes, interest, and penalty that
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levied as a result of the
conviction was solely his obligation. Craig's attorney
made a professional statement that it was estimated Craig
owed $174, 000 to the government, based on $86, 000 in back
taxes, a 75% fraud penalty, and the compounding interest on
the debt. However, when the court asked if Craig was
precluded from negotiating the amount with the IRS, his
attorney stated, "No, I don't mean to say that
we're not going to have a scrap with them, Your
Honor." When the court reiterated that the amount was
"not a done deal yet, " counsel responded,
"Well, it sure isn't, as far as I'm
trial, the parties agreed each had received some inheritance
from their parents and they agreed on the value of all
properties bought during the marriage, except that of the
marital home. Patricia opined the home was worth $130, 000.
She reached that opinion after considering the assessed
value- $80, 751-and the recommended listing price from the
"market analysis" completed by a third party-$149,
583. Craig testified the marital home was worth $65, 000. He
stated the home was one of the oldest ones in the area and
needed new siding and windows. He also testified the house
next door was then for sale, that it had the same size lot
with "a lot nicer" house, it was listed at $130,
000, and no one had looked at it yet.
Craig's testimony, he mentioned that he had a pension
through his employer. The pension had not been listed on any
of his financial disclosures, and Patricia testified she was
unaware that Craig had it. Patricia requested a share of the
pension during her testimony.
district court entered the "decree of dissolution of
marriage" on September 12, 2016. It set aside as
non-marital property both parties' inheritances as well
as the undetermined amount Craig owed the IRS. In setting
aside the debt, the court noted it believed the $174, 000
estimate was "artificially high, " as Craig had not
yet tried to negotiate for a lower amount. The court also
the payment of these back taxes is due entirely to conduct of
Craig, and equity demands that he should pay it. As
previously stated, he will have every opportunity to
negotiate this to a potentially lower figure. Whether he is
able to do ...