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In re The Marriage of Pavlovec

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF ANDREW RIEHLE PAVLOVEC AND AMBER MARIE PAVLOVEC Upon the Petition of ANDREW RIEHLE PAVLOVEC, Petitioner-Appellee, And ConcerningAMBER MARIE PAVLOVEC, Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.

         Amber Pavlovec appeals from the district court's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decree dissolving her marriage to Andrew Pavlovec.

          Thomas E. Maxwell of Leff Law Firm, L.L.P., Iowa City, for appellant.

          Natalie Hope Cronk of Cronk & Waterman, P.L.C., Iowa City, for appellee.

          Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Amber Pavlovec appeals from the district court's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and decree dissolving her marriage to Andrew Pavlovec. Amber challenges the child-custody and spousal-support provisions of the decree. We conclude joint physical care is in the best interests of the children and affirm. We additionally conclude the spousal-support award is inequitable and modify the spousal-support provision accordingly.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings.

         Amber and Andrew were married on August 7, 2009. This action was initiated in July 2014, the trial was held in 2016, and the decree was filed August 31, 2016. The parties have two children: E.P., age nine, and R.P., age six.

         Amber was thirty-three years old at the time the dissolution decree was entered. She is employed as a pharmacist for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, earning $106, 892 per year. Andrew was thirty-one years old at the time the decree was entered. Andrew is a part-time student attending classes for engineering at the University of Iowa. Although Andrew has had part-time employment in the past, he was not employed at the time of the trial.

         The parties met in 2006 while they were both attending the University of Iowa. However, Andrew withdrew from the university in 2006 due to poor grades. Amber began pharmacy school at the university in the fall of 2006 and became pregnant with E.P. around the same time. Amber and Andrew agreed Andrew would work full-time to support the family while Amber finished pharmacy school and Andrew would return to college after Amber's schooling was complete. Amber was to graduate from pharmacy school in May 2011, slightly less than two years after the parties were married. Andrew began working nights at a plastics molding factory. Amber also contributed to supporting the family with income from work as a pharmacy intern and by taking the maximum amount of student loans to pay for living expenses as well as her schooling. At the time of trial, Amber owed approximately $230, 000 in student-loan debt.

         When Amber completed pharmacy school in 2011, Andrew re-enrolled at the University of Iowa as planned. Andrew took classes as a full-time student for the fall 2011, fall 2012, and spring 2013 semesters.[1] However, due to poor academic performance, Andrew withdrew from all classes during the fall 2013 semester, withdrew from all but two classes during the spring 2014 semester, and withdrew from all classes during the summer 2014 semester. Andrew did not inform Amber he was not attending classes as planned. Andrew explained that his poor academic performance was related to his distress due to the marital problems beginning to arise.

         The breakdown of the marriage began in 2013 when Amber engaged in inappropriate interactions with men other than Andrew, and Andrew, in turn, sought relationships with other women. Amber and Andrew ultimately separated in June 2014 after a domestic dispute resulted in the police being called and a no-contact order entered between Amber and Andrew. Andrew was charged with domestic abuse assault, but the charge was later dismissed.

         While the no-contact was in place, Andrew was unable to see the children for approximately five weeks. Once the charge against him and the no-contact order were dismissed, the parties entered into a temporary visitation agreement. The record reveals Amber and Andrew were able to communicate with respect to the children and exchange the children for visitation without discord in most cases. However, the children did repeat negative comments made by Amber about Andrew, and Andrew did call Amber names in front of the children during at least one exchange. Amber was accused of possible abuse of E.P. when faint marks were discovered on E.P.'s face and E.P. reported Amber slapped him as a form of punishment. The ...


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