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In re Marriage of Schumacher

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 16, 2017

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF TIMOTHY WAYNE SCHUMACHER AND MARY SCHUMACHER Upon the Petition of TIMOTHY WAYNE SCHUMACHER, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, And Concerning MARY SCHUMACHER, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Nancy L. Whittenburg, Judge.

         A former husband appeals a dissolution decree granting his former wife physical care of their children; the former wife cross-appeals the denial of spousal support and trial attorney fees. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Andrew B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Matthew G. Sease of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         Timothy Schumacher appeals the physical care provision of the decree that dissolved his marriage to Mary Schumacher. Timothy claims the district court should not have granted Mary physical care of the children and the court's rationale for doing so was inconsistent with the record. Mary claims the district court abused its discretion in denying her request for spousal support and trial attorney fees.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Timothy and Mary were married in 2007. The parties are the parents of three children, born 2007, 2010, and 2012. Mary's child from a prior marriage, born in 2001, also lives in the marital home.

         On May 6, 2015, while Timothy was out of town on business, Mary filed a petition for relief from domestic abuse, alleging Timothy had threatened her and she feared for her safety. On the same day, a temporary protective order was issued that restrained Timothy from any contact with Mary or the children. On May 15, Timothy filed a petition to dissolve the marriage, seeking joint legal custody and physical care of the children.

         On June 8, a contested hearing was held on the petition for relief from domestic abuse. The court concluded Timothy had not committed a criminal assault, determined he no longer posed a threat to Mary, and dismissed the petition. Immediately following the hearing, the court heard arguments regarding temporary matters in the dissolution action. The court resolved the temporary matters hearing by granting temporary joint legal custody to both parties and placing the children in the physical care of Mary.

          Trial on the dissolution matter occurred over four days in April 2016. On December 22, the district court issued a forty-page written ruling. In addressing the issue of physical care, the court determined the parties were not well-suited for shared physical care and placed the children in the physical care of Mary. In evaluating Mary's request for spousal support, the court determined Mary had the ability to support herself at the standard of living she had enjoyed during the marriage and spousal support was not warranted. Finally, the court denied Mary's request for attorney fees.

         Timothy appeals the court's physical care determination; Mary cross-appeals from the court's denial of spousal-support and trial attorney fees and requests appellate attorney fees.

         II. Scope and ...


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