from the Iowa District Court for Guthrie County, Paul R.
father appeals the district court's custody decree
finding joint physical care was in the child's best
Dorothy L. Dakin and Daniel J. Johnson of Kruse & Dakin,
L.L.P., Boone, for appellant.
Jessica L. Morton of Bruner, Bruner & Reinhart LLP,
Carroll, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
Long appeals the decree entered by the district court finding
he and Haley Warnke should have joint physical care of their
young child. He argues placement in his physical care-rather
than joint physical care-is in the child's best
interests. Haley seeks appellate attorney fees. Upon our
review, we affirm the court's custody determinations and
award Haley $3000 in attorney fees.
Standard of Review.
review child-custody determinations made pursuant to Iowa
Code chapter 600B (2016) de novo. See McKee v.
Dicus, 785 N.W.2d 733, 736 (Iowa Ct. App. 2010); see
also Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; Wilker v. Wilker,
630 N.W.2d 590, 594 (Iowa 2001). This requires an examination
of the whole trial record to decide anew the issues raised on
appeal. See Wilker, 630 N.W.2d at 594. Despite our
de novo review, we give strong consideration to the district
court's fact findings, including any credibility
findings. See id.; see also Iowa R. App. P.
6.904(3)(g). In child-custody cases, the first and foremost
consideration is the child's best interest. See In re
Marriage of Hoffman, 867 N.W.2d 26, 32 (Iowa 2015);
see also Iowa Code § 600B.31; Iowa R. App. P.
6.904(3)(o); Phillips v. Davis-Spurling, 541 N.W.2d
846, 847 (Iowa 1995).
Background Facts and Proceedings.
de novo review, we make the following findings of fact. Both
Tyler Long and Haley Warnke were born in 1993. They met in
high school and graduated in approximately 2011. In winter
2013, Tyler and Haley had a short relationship, during which
Haley became pregnant. At that time, Haley was married to
another man and in the process of getting a divorce.
April 2014, Haley told Tyler she was pregnant with his child,
but he did not believe he was the child's father.
Haley's divorce was finalized in May 2014. During the
pregnancy, Haley received no assistance from Tyler.
gave birth to A.M.L. in December 2014; however, because Tyler
did not believe the child was his, Haley did not put his name
on the birth certificate. Nevertheless, Haley let Tyler know
when she went into labor and sent a picture of the child the
morning of the child's birth. Tyler came to see the child
the next day. A paternity test in January 2015 confirmed
Tyler was the child's father, and Tyler was later
designated the child's father on her birth certificate.
had sporadic visitation with the child during the first six
or seven months of the child's life. Until approximately
August 2015, Tyler's visits with the child usually
occurred at Haley's request. If Haley needed a
babysitter, she usually checked with Tyler and his mother to
see if they wanted to keep the child instead. Tyler did not
offer Haley any sort of financial support at that time.
August 2015, Tyler became more involved in the child's
life, and he generally had the child on weekends. Haley also
offered Tyler occasional time during the week, which Tyler
accepted. Additionally, Tyler provided some diapers and
clothes for the child, and twice he gave Haley some money. In
October 2015, Haley asked Tyler if there was "any way
[they] could ...