IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF GARY E. ERLANDSON AND SUSAN KAY ERLANDSON Upon the Petition of GARY E. ERLANDSON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning SUSAN KAY ERLANDSON, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L.
Erlandson appeals from the economic provisions of the decree
dissolving his marriage to Susan Erlandson. AFFIRMED.
Patrick Lyons of Dutton, Braun, Staack & Hellman, P.L.C.,
Waterloo, for appellant.
Heather A. Prendergast of Roberts, Stevens & Prendergast,
P.L.L.C., Waterloo, for appellee.
by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, Presiding Judge.
decide whether a separation decree controls the disposition
of property and spousal support in a subsequent dissolution
Background Facts and Proceedings
and Susan Erlandson married in 2001. They separated after
nine years and formalized their status in a "stipulation
for separation" prepared by Susan's
attorney. The stipulation stated "[e]ach party
shall receive those items of real and personal property,
household goods, and furnishings currently in their
possession." It granted Susan the parties' home,
required her to shoulder the mortgage, and held Gary
responsible for a home equity loan of $23, 000. The
stipulation stated, "If the parties should continue on
and file a dissolution of marriage action, Gary agrees that
he will remain responsible for this loan and have said loan
transferred to his name only."
stipulation divided the parties' pensions as follows:
Susan is awarded all rights and interests in any pension
plan, 401k plans and/or any other retirement plan, with no
rights or interest in Gary. Susan shall be awarded one-half
interest in any pension plan, 401K plans and/or any other
the stipulation contained two provisions explaining the
import of the document:
5. COMPLETE SETTLEMENT. This Stipulation for
Separation shall be a complete settlement of the rights and
obligations of the parties to each other. . . . .
18. DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE. The parties
agree that if this matter should continue and proceed to a
dissolution of marriage, that the above agreement and
Stipulation for Separation shall remain in effect.
the stipulation was executed and presented to the district
court, the court filed a "decree for separation"
ordering the parties "legally separated." The court
further "ordered and decreed" that "each and
all of the terms, provisions, and agreements . . . contained
in the Stipulation for Separation . . . is hereby ratified,
confirmed, and approved and made a part of this Decree . . .
as though fully set out herein and judgment is entered
Erlandsons reconciled for several years but maintained
separate finances. In time, Gary petitioned for a dissolution
of the marriage. Following trial, the district court filed
a dissolution decree finding paragraph 18 of the
stipulation-providing for the stipulation's continued
effect in the event of a dissolution-"equitable."
The court disposed of the home in accordance with the
stipulation. As for the pensions, the court granted Susan
"one-half" of Gary's military pension "per
the Benson formula, when and if [Gary] becomes
eligible to draw retirement pay." The court
subsequently filed an "order to divide military retired
court next turned to spousal support. After acknowledging the
stipulation did "not directly address alimony" and
"reflect[ed] that each expects the other will take care
of his or her own future needs, " the court awarded
Susan temporary spousal ...