IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF ERENIA DOLORES AREVALO AND EDGAR SIFREDO AREVALO-LUNA Upon the Petition of ERENIA DOLORES AREVALO, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning EDGAR SIFREDO AREVALO-LUNA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M.
Arevalo appeals from the dissolution decree and the district
court's denial of her request for spousal support.
Katherine S. Sargent, Des Moines, for appellant.
Sifredo Arevalo-Luna, Des Moines, appellee pro se.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Arevalo appeals from the decree dissolving her marriage to
Edgar Arevalo-Luna. Erenia maintains the district court
should have awarded her spousal support as she requested. She
also asks that we award her $1500 in appellate attorney fees.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
was born in El Salvador in 1966. She attended only five years
of school before coming to the United States in 1995. Edgar
was also born in El Salvador, in 1974. He completed twelve
years of education before attending three and one half years
of college in El Salvador. He came to the United States in
1994. Edgar has taken English-language classes both in El
Salvador and at a local community college.
and Edgar married in in 2001. They had twins, born in 1999,
and a third child, born in 2005. At the time of the
dissolution trial, the parties agreed they would share joint
legal custody of the children and Erenia would have physical
care of the children. Edgar was ordered to pay Erenia $1066
per month in child support for the three
only disputed issue at the time of dissolution was whether
Edgar should be required to pay Erenia spousal support.
Erenia asked the court to order Edger to pay her $400 per
month starting in June 2018 (when the twins are expected to
graduate high school) until June 2024 (when Edgar's child
support obligation for the youngest child was expected to
cease), at which point she asked the court to increase the
monthly award to $1000. Erenia asked that the $1000 award be
"permanent." Edgar was unrepresented at the
dissolution trial; when asked what he requested the judge to
do with regard to spousal support, he testified,
"Whatever the judge thinks is fair because I do need
something to live on."
has a history of sporadic, unskilled employment. Before
coming to the United States, she worked in a restaurant and
at a store that sold dairy products. Her first job in the
United States was working at a McDonald's, which she did
for approximately five years. She did not work outside the
home for a period after the children were born. In 2012,
Erenia began working in food services for the Des Moines
Public Schools. She works approximately five and one half
hours on days children are in school; she does not work and
is not paid on days the children have off, such as weekends,
extended holiday breaks, and summer vacation. Her position is
an IPERS-covered position, though she has not yet vested in
the pension fund. In 2015, Erenia returned to work at
as a part-time second job. She earned her highest wages that
year, with her tax returns showing a combined income of $15,
966. Based on the amount of her earnings, Erenia qualified
for earned income credit; she received over $7000 in a tax
refund, actually making her net income more than her gross
income. Once the tax refund is added to her net earnings,
Erenia brought home almost $23, 000 in 2015.
has typically worked two jobs since coming to the United
States. At the time of the dissolution hearing in March 2016,
Edgar testified he had worked at Southeast Polk Community
School District for approximately seven years. His job was
also an IPERS-covered position. He worked as a custodian or
janitor and was in charge of the other janitors who also
worked second shift. In 2015, he earned almost $46, 000 in
his primary job. Edgar also worked a second fulltime job at
Walmart. His 2015 tax returns show a combined income of $65,
599. In 2014, Edgar had a combined income of $61, 902, and in
2013, he had a combined income of $53, 758. On top of the
$1066 Edgar is to pay Erenia for child support each month,
Edgar also has a child support obligation for three children
born outside of his marriage, with that ...