IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF GEORGE E. HANNA AND BETH A. HANNA Upon the Petition of GEORGE E. HANNA, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning BETH A. HANNA, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Carl D.
Hanna appeals from the economic provisions of the decree
dissolving his marriage to Beth Hanna.
A. Volz of Ackley, Kopecky & Kingery, Cedar Rapids, for
L. Bray and David M. Cox of Bray & Klockau, P.L.C., Iowa
City, for appellee.
by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Hanna appeals from the economic provisions of the decree
dissolving his marriage to Beth Hanna. Because we find the
valuation of the marital assets within the permissible range
of the evidence, and the amount and duration of spousal
support reasonable, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
and Beth's thirty-one-year marriage was dissolved by
decree entered in June 2016. The couple had two children, who
are now both adults, with the youngest projected to have
graduated from college in December 2016.
began working as a dentist in 1982. He purchased the practice
of an experienced dentist in Cedar Rapids and began splitting
his time between the practice and teaching as an adjunct
professor at the University of Iowa. In 1982, Beth received a
nursing degree and worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals
and Clinics. She received her master's degree in nursing
in 1992. In 2000, the couple mutually decided Beth would
leave her position and become a stay-at-home mother.
incorporated his dental practice in the late 1990s, taking on
an associate and constructing a new building for the
practice. The couple enjoyed a comfortable marital lifestyle,
including going on a couple of vacations per year, joining
the local country club, saving for retirement, as well as
making improvements to their home. For investment purposes,
they purchased an interest in a Cedar Rapids restaurant and
an interest in a Galena, Illinois, condo with a friend.
Further, they supported their children's college
education and purchased a condo for them to occupy during
their college years.
retirement planning, George's dental office had a defined
benefits pension plan, to which George contributed. The
defined plan lost significant value during the economic
downturn of 2008-2009. As a result, the IRS directed George
to pay $212, 000 to fully fund the plan. George borrowed
money to fund the plan. George also borrowed money from the
dental practice for family expenses, a debt he continues to
repay each year. In January 2005, George's associate
bought a one-half interest in the practice for $287, 000. It
was understood by George, Beth, and the associate that over
time George would be bought out by the associate's wife,
who was also a dentist, and George would stay on as an
associate. At the time of trial, that had not occurred.
marriage began to erode in 2009, and from 2010 to 2015,
George's W-2 income decreased from $413, 950 to $221,
500; however, the associate testified George's production
and gross revenues inexplicably remained as high in 2015 as
they had been in 2011.
returned to the workforce in 2010, performing administrative
tasks for George's dental practice. After two years, she
left the practice and at the time of the dissolution trial
was employed by the University of Iowa. Beth earns a base
salary of $91, 762 and receives retirement contributions of
filed for dissolution of marriage on December 10, 2014, with
the matter coming on for trial on April 19-20, 2016. In its
decree, the court noted both George and Beth are in excellent
health and both have received advanced degrees. The court
highlighted Beth's contributions to the marriage and
George's greater earning capacity. The court divided
marital assets between George and Beth, and with the
equalization payment taken into account, Beth received 49.5%
of the assets, and George received 50.4%. Of Beth's
approximate $67, 000 of inherited funds, which she received
during the marriage, $41, 000 was set aside to her. Each was
awarded various pension and retirement accounts, and each
agreed to pay various debts. George was awarded his interest
in the dental practice. The dental practice appraiser valued
the practice before the 2005 sale to the associate and again
prior to the dissolution. Both parties agreed the appraised
value of the practice is $1, 361, 000, or $680, 550 for
George's one-half share. However, George disputes the
value of the practice set by the district court, which
included accounts receivable, a loan receivable from
George's personal loan from the practice, and proceeds
from the practice's loan to George's sister. George
asserts his share should be assessed at $598, 884,
debt totaling $289, 217 should be deducted from his share.
court ordered George to make an equalization payment to Beth
of $250, 000, in four equal installments of $62, 500. The
court also ordered George to make spousal support payments of
$3500 per month until Beth reaches sixty-five years of age
and then $2000 per month thereafter. In determining spousal
support, the court noted:
As noted in the discussion of the division of property, this
is a 31-year marriage. George and Beth are in excellent
health. Both have received advanced degrees in dentistry and
nursing respectively. Beth gave up her employment in 2000 so
she could be home with their children. George agreed with
George has a known earning capacity of $400, 000 per year.
Beth has a yearly salary of $91, 762. In 2011, George earned
$424, 750 from his dental practice. In 2012, his income
dropped to $254, 750. Over his career, George has earned an
average of $299, 000 per year. The Court concludes that
George can earn $300, 000 per year or more.
The contributions to the marriage by Beth and George's
greater earning capacity make this an appropriate case for
traditional alimony, which will allow Beth to have a standard
of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the
27, 2016, George filed a posttrial motion under Iowa Rule of
Civil Procedure 1.904(2), disputing several aspects of the
marital assets valuation by the court, as well as the spousal
support. The court reduced George's spousal support
payments to $3000 per month until Beth reaches age
sixty-five, then $1500 per month until the death of either
party or until Beth remarries. The court supported the
reduction because Beth "was awarded cash and retirement
assets from which she can withdraw income upon her
appeals both the equalization payment stemming from the