IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JESSICA K ROGERS AND JASON P. ROGERS Upon the Petition of JESSICA K. ROGERS, n/k/a JESSICA K. AYERS, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee. And Concerning JASON P. ROGERS, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark D. Cleve,
wife appeals, and the husband cross-appeals, various economic
provisions of the decree dissolving their marriage. AFFIRMED
IN PART, MODIFIED IN PART, AND REMANDED.
D. Gieck of H.J. Dane Law Office, Davenport, for appellant.
Leanne Tyler of Tyler & Associates, P.C., Bettendorf, for
by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.
Rogers (now known as Jessica Ayers) appeals from the decree
dissolving her marriage to Jason Rogers. Jessica claims the
district court should have included Jason's annual
bonuses in his annual income for the purpose of calculating
his child-support obligation. She also claims the award of
spousal support was inequitable and asks us to award her
$6500 in appellate attorney fees. Jason cross-appeals,
arguing: Jessica's spousal support should be reduced
because Jessica received $53, 000 from his inheritance, and
the alimony he was ordered to pay Jessica should have been
deducted from his salary and considered as part of her income
for the purpose of calculating child support. He asks us to
award him $10, 000 in appellate attorney fees.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Jason were married in August 2003. Before the parties
married, Jessica had finished her education and was licensed
in cosmetology, and Jason had completed a Bachelor of Science
degree in accounting. Jessica was working full-time as a
cosmetologist and earning approximately $20, 000 annually,
while Jason worked full-time at John Deere.
parties had their first child in 2004. Within a few months,
they decided Jessica would leave her employment outside of
the home to care for the child. Jessica and Jason had two
more children, one in 2007 and one in 2009.
years before Jessica filed for dissolution, the family moved
a number of times for Jason's career, both within the
state of Iowa and outside of the country. Jessica remained
the primary caregiver of the children, and she maintained
both the inside and outside of the family home. Jason's
job required some travel, and he took business trips that
lasted one week or longer several times a year. In 2012,
Jason enrolled in a MBA program at the University of Chicago.
During the twenty-month program, he went to Chicago every
other weekend from Thursday through Saturday. Jason still
worked full-time, so he completed schoolwork on nights after
work or during the alternate weekend. John Deere paid for the
schooling and all out-of-pocket expenses, and Jason earned
the same salary that year as he did in other years.
filed the dissolution petition in August 2015, and the trial
took place in July 2016, after almost thirteen years of
marriage. Jason had recently made a lateral transfer at John
Deere into a position that required less travel and had more
flexible hours, thereby allowing him to spend more time with
the children. Before trial, the parties agreed Jessica would
have care of the children, but Jason would get six out of
every fourteen nights with them. The parties share legal
trial, the parties presented evidence mostly in agreement
regarding their assets and debts. The marital residence was
appraised at a market value of $592, 000, and the parties had
approximately $197, 500 in equity in the home. Since the
parties separated, Jessica had purchased a new home valued at
$300, 000. She used $32, 000 out of the parties' joint
account as a down payment on the property and had made only a
few payments on the mortgage since the purchase. Each party
was awarded their home (and its debt), their vehicle, and
some various small checking or savings accounts.
asked the court to set aside as a nonmarital asset the $106,
000 he inherited from his aunt; the money had been used as a
down payment on the marital home. The court declined to do
so, stating it had "taken into consideration the amount
of time that has transpired since the funds were comingled,
as well as [Jessica's] considerable efforts in
maintaining the marital asset that was acquired in part by
use of the inherited funds." The court considered the
values of the marital property, including the entire amount
of equity in the marital home awarded to Jason and ordered
Jason to make an equalization payment of $99, 512.86 to
Jessica within one year. Each party ultimately received
one-half of the net assets of $322, 963.18.
Jason was ordered to divide his 401k in half (after
subtracting his premarital contributions), with Jessica
receiving approximately $295, 500. She was also awarded a
portion of Jason's pension, pursuant to the
the parties agreed how much money each had earned the last
several years, they disagreed over what the court should do
with those sums. At the time of trial, Jason's base
annual salary was $172, 056. He received a bonus in December
of each year based on the company's performance. In the
three years leading up to the trial, the bonuses Jason
received were very large, with his total compensation
reaching $257, 381 in 2013; $260, 100 in 2014; and $267,
968.00 in 2015. Jason testified it was possible there would
be years he did not receive a bonus and future bonuses were
likely to be much smaller because the three prior years had
been the "golden years of agriculture." Jason asked
the court to use his base salary to determine the amount of
child support and spousal support he owed and then to award
Jessica a specific percentage of his bonus. Jessica asked the
court to average the last few years of Jason's
income-including both his bonus and his base salary-and use
that number as the basis for the court's awards.
parties also disagreed regarding how the court should
consider Jessica's income. Jessica had performed some
work outside of the home in the years leading up to the
trial; she worked three hours a week as a spin instructor,
became a Norwex consultant, and had a few clients whose hair
she cut. Jessica earned $8819 in 2013; $5765 in 2014; and
$3280 in 2015. She asked the court to use her actual income
when determining the award of child support and spousal
support, and Jason asked the court to impute a full-time,
minimum wage income ($15, 080) to Jessica when making the
court used Jason's base salary and imputed an income of
$15, 080 to Jessica. After factoring Jason's cost of
health insurance for the children and the 20% extraordinary
visitation credit, the court ordered Jason to pay $1768.12
per month in child support while all three children remain at
home. Jason is also required to pay Jessica as
additional child support 10% of the gross amount he receives
for a bonus, within ten days after he receives
parties agreed some spousal support for Jessica was
warranted. Jessica asked the court to award her $6200 per
month for eight years, while Jason maintained he should pay
Jessica $1500 per month for a period of five years plus an
additional 10% of the gross amount he receives as bonus. The
court awarded Jessica sixty months of spousal support in the
amount of $2000 each month and an additional 10% of the gross
amount of Jason's bonuses in 2016-2020.
appeals, and Jason cross-appeals.
Standard of Review.
review de novo challenges to the economic provisions of a
dissolution decree. In re Marriage of Clinton, 579