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Ruden v. Peach

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 27, 2017

MARC RUDEN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KYRA PEACH, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L. Ackley, Judge.

         Kyra Peach appeals the district court's judgment on Marc Ruden's petition to establish paternity, custody, visitation, and support of their child. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED, AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.

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

          Jamie A. Splinter of Splinter Law Office, Dubuque, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Kyra Peach appeals the district court's judgment on Marc Ruden's petition to establish paternity, custody, visitation, and support of their child. She contends granting her physical care of the child is in the child's best interests. Both parties request an award of appellate attorney fees.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Kyra met Marc when she interviewed for an internship with Marc's employer, IIW Engineering. The part-time internship began in January 2014. At the time, Kyra was a student in an engineering program and was in a relationship and living with Jeremy Peach. Marc was married.

         After Kyra earned her engineering degree in the spring of 2014, she moved to Dubuque, where she lived with Jeremy and began working full-time at IIW. IIW assigned one of its employees to act as Kyra's mentor. After that employee left the company, IIW assigned Marc to be Kyra's mentor. Because her work went through Marc, Kyra viewed him as her boss.

         Marc began to pursue and initiated a romantic relationship with Kyra. They began an affair sometime during the summer of 2014. Kyra ended her relationship with Jeremy. By October, the affair ended. Kyra resumed her relationship with Jeremy, and they became engaged to be married. Marc and his wife separated and eventually divorced.

         After the affair ended, Kyra learned she was pregnant and informed Marc. Initially, the two maintained a friendly relationship, but Kyra perceived Marc to be persistent in his attempts to resume a romantic relationship with her, which made her uncomfortable at work. After IIW assigned Kyra a new mentor, she believed Marc began to treat her differently in the workplace. She resigned from IIW in February 2015 due to the tension and stress she felt at work. Marc did not contact Kyra after she left IIW.

         Marc filed a paternity action shortly before the child's June 2015 birth. Because Kyra and Jeremy were planning to marry in July, Kyra gave the child Jeremy's surname, which Kyra also assumed upon marrying him. Initially, the child's birth certificate did not name the child's father, though Kyra later had Jeremy's name added as the child's father. Paternity testing eventually established that Marc is the child's father.

         Marc began having visits with the child in July 2015. In September 2015, the district court entered a temporary order placing the child in Kyra's care and providing Marc visits with the child each Tuesday and Thursday, as well as ...


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