IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF LISA APPENZELLER AND DANIEL APPENZELLER Upon the Petition of LISA APPENZELLER, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning DANIEL APPENZELLER, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W.
Latham II, Judge.
husband appeals from a dissolution decree, challenging the
award of physical care and the economic provisions of the
D. Puryear and Eric S. Mail of Puryear Law, P.C., Davenport,
L. Clausen and Ryan M. Beckenbaugh of H.J. Dane Law Office,
Davenport, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
an appeal from a decree dissolving the marriage of Lisa and
Daniel Appenzeller. The district court awarded the parents
joint legal custody of their twin children, with Lisa to have
physical care of the children and Daniel to have liberal
visitation. On appeal, Daniel challenges the award of
physical care, including two evidentiary issues related to
the physical care determination. He contends the district
court abused its discretion in allowing Lisa to use
Daniel's substance-abuse-treatment records for
impeachment purposes and erred in allowing the children's
therapist to testify regarding the children's therapy
sessions. Daniel also challenges the economic provisions of
parties met in 2011 and were married in 2012. They have two
children together, twins A.M.A. and A.D.A., born in November
2012. Lisa also has an older child, S.R., from a previous
relationship. Lisa testified she and Daniel did not know each
other very well when they wed since they married only a year
after meeting. Once married, she learned Daniel had issues
with alcohol, substance abuse, and anger management. She also
learned Daniel was addicted to OxyContin.
the parties separated, they agreed Lisa would have physical
care of the children and Daniel would exercise visitation two
weeknights per week and every other weekend. The physical
care arrangement was changed after a hearing on temporary
matters. The parties transitioned to a shared-care
arrangement on a 2/2/3 schedule, meaning the children
alternated overnights between the parents for periods of two
days, two days, and three days. In the hearing on temporary
matters, Daniel volunteered he was undergoing substance-abuse
treatment. He also voluntarily produced medical records
regarding his substance-abuse treatment to establish he was
doing well and could provide care for the children.
trial, the district court awarded Lisa physical care of the
children with Daniel to have liberal visitation. The district
court found that Lisa was the primary caretaker of the
children during the marriage, although Daniel did provide
assistance. Daniel's drug use was also an issue at trial
as it pertained to custody. Daniel denied heroin use at trial
until he was confronted on cross-examination with his
complete substance-abuse records, at which time he admitted
to using heroin in the prior five years and parenting the
children during the same period of time he was using heroin.
He admitted he told Lisa about his OxyContin use but never
told her about his use of heroin. Daniel's heroin use was
a factor in awarding Lisa physical care-the district court
stated it "[was] very concerned by the fact Daniel was
abusing very serious substances while caring for his
children. Daniel minimizes his addiction and was not
forthright or truthful with his wife or the Court." In
rejecting Daniel's request for shared care, the district
court found "it is clear the [temporary] shared care
arrangement has not been beneficial for the children, "
it had been "difficult" for them, and "there
has been more acting-out by the children." The district
court found there was not mutual respect between the parties:
Daniel testified he was the more superior parent and Lisa was
an average parent. He testified she does her
"best." Daniel further placed blame on Lisa for the
children being injured while being cared [for] by others
while they were in the care of Lisa. This evidence further
indicates Daniel's inability to support Lisa effectively
in placing the blame on her for such incidents.
court gave Lisa physical care of the children and gave Daniel
visitation every Wednesday evening and every other weekend.
district court ordered child support in the amount of $605.84
per month for the care of the twins. At the time of trial,
Lisa was employed as an operations administrative assistant
with Eastern Iowa Community College. In 2015, her
compensation from that position was $31, 215. Daniel was
self-employed as the owner of his business, Two Coats
Painting. At trial, he contended his net income from the
business was $21, 000. Lisa contended his net income was $30,
000. Her testimony was based on her knowledge of how Daniel
operated his business, including trading for services. The
testimony suggested Daniel had annual receipts of
approximately $47, 000-$50, 000. Bank records showed ...