from the Iowa District Court for Buena Vista County, David A.
mother appeals from the decree establishing paternity,
custody, support, and visitation.
C. Badding of Neu, Minnich, Comito, Halbur, Neu &
Badding, P.C., Carroll, for appellant.
Sailer of Reimer, Lohman, Reitz, Sailer & Ullrich,
Denison, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
(Jackie) Troxel is the mother and Scott Rexroat is the father
of L., born in 2014. The parties were never married. Jackie
first informed Scott he was the father of an older child and
L. When Scott filed this action to establish paternity and
sought physical care of the two children, Jackie denied his
paternity. Paternity testing established Scott was the father
of L. only. After a two-day trial, the district court entered
its decree establishing paternity, placing the child in
Scott's physical care, ordering Jackie to pay $104 per
month in child support, and setting minimum
appeals, asserting the district court abused its discretion
in admitting the custody evaluator's report and
background information, the criminal histories of Jackie and
her paramour, and certain exhibits on rebuttal. She also
contends the court erred in placing the child in Scott's
physical care, in not ordering more extensive visitation to
her, and in refusing to order Scott to pay one-half of her
trial attorney fees.
review custody actions, which are tried in equity, de novo.
Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. We give weight to the findings of the
trial court-particularly its credibility findings-but we are
not bound by them. Iowa R. App. P. 6.904(3)(g).
thoroughly reviewed the record and the district court's
thoughtful and detailed ruling. We find no abuse of
discretion in the court's admission of the evidence
subject to the objections noted for a complete record of the
proceedings. We acknowledge the district court
considered the exhibits without determining their
admissibility. Nonetheless, even if we disregard all the
exhibits objected to by Jackie our decision today would not
choose not to restate the facts and further stir the
emotional antagonism evident between the parents. Both
parents have behaved ill- advisedly toward the other. But the
district court noted that it appears that Scott was
"trying to improve both his relationship with and
ability to communicate with Jackie, while Jackie is
not." The court continued, "[This] is an important
factor favoring placement of [L.] with Scott rather than with
Jackie; that being the ability of Scott to promote the
child's relationship with his other
parent." We agree, and add that Scott now reflects
more emotional stability than Jackie, as Jackie continues to
be unable to untangle herself from the emotional attachment
to Scott and anger towards both Scott and his wife. Our
concern is with the best interests of the child. The child
needs parents who can develop a working and cooperative
parenting style with the child having access to each parent
and to their extended families on each side. Both parents
have the capability to be that kind of parent, and in time,
we hope both can become the parent their child deserves. But
for the reasons stated, and giving deference to the district
court's credibility assessments, which are explained and
supported by its findings-even disregarding findings
supported by the objectionable exhibits, we find no reason to
disturb the district court's decree granting physical
care to Scott.
court ordered Scott to bear the full cost of the
court-ordered custody evaluation and pay all court costs.
Each party was to pay their own attorney fees. The trial
court did not err denying the request to order Scott to pay
Jackie's trial attorney fees. See Iowa Code
§ 600B.26 (2017) ("In a proceeding to determine
custody or visitation, . . . the court may award the
prevailing party reasonable attorney fees."). We award
no appellate attorney fees.
additional comment would add little to our jurisprudence, we
affirm without additional opinion. See ...