Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Marriage of Kapfer

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 8, 2017

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF ZACHARY RYAN KAPFER AND JILL MARNEE KAPFER Upon the Petition of ZACHARY RYAN KAPFER, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning JILL MARNEE KAPFER n/k/a JILL MARNEE SWANSON, Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Paul R. Huscher, Judge.

         Jill Swanson appeals a district court order denying her request to modify the joint-physical-care provision of the decree dissolving her marriage to Zachary Kapfer. AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

          Allison M. Steuterman of Brick Gentry, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Zachary R. Kapfer, Clive, self-represented appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          TABOR, Judge.

         Jill Swanson appeals a district court order denying her request to modify the joint-physical-care provision of the decree dissolving her marriage to Zachary Kapfer. Jill contends escalating friction in her relationship with Zachary constitutes a material and substantial change in circumstances warranting modification. Citing her efforts to involve their three children in extracurricular activities and obtain medical treatment for them, Jill maintains she should be granted physical care. Next, Jill argues the district court should have modified the decree to grant her the right to make final decisions about the children's education, health care, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities if she and Zachary reach an impasse.

         Because our de novo review of the record reveals joint physical care is not working and is having a disruptive effect on the children's lives, we reverse the district court order and remand for modification of the dissolution decree to grant physical care to Jill and liberal visitation to Zachary. But we decline Jill's second modification request-the parties will continue to have joint legal custody, providing them "equal participation in decisions affecting the [children's] legal status, medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious instruction." Iowa Code § 598.41(5)(b) (2012).

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Jill and Zachary divorced in May 2012. They have three children together, A.M.K. (born in 2006), J.E.K. (born in 2008), and N.E.K. (born in 2010). The district court awarded the parties joint legal custody, but in accordance with a parenting plan submitted by the parties, the court ordered: "[I]n the event the parties cannot agree as to education decisions, non-emergency health care, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities, [Zachary] shall have the right to make the final decision."[1] The court granted Zachary physical care until September 2013; after that time, the parties would transition to shared care.[2]

         Immediately after the divorce, Jill and Zachary generally got along well. Then both parties remarried: Jill in November 2013 and Zachary in August 2014. In the months leading up to Zachary's marriage, Jill found her relationship with Zachary became strained. In June of 2014, she filed an application to modify the physical-care provision of the custody decree, alleging a "substantial breakdown in communication" and asking the court to grant her physical care. Jill also filed an application for rule to show cause, alleging Zachary failed to provide child support, to reimburse Jill for costs, and to attend mediation to address issues with the children.

         Over the next year and a half, those matters remained pending while Jill and Zachary tried to resolve their disputes through mediation. But the parties continued to disagree about a variety of issues, including the children's extracurricular activities, their basic medical care, and appropriate discipline practices. Following a mediation session in October 2014, Jill and Zachary agreed to begin communicating through the website TalkingParents.com, which allowed them to keep an accurate record of their interactions.[3]

         After the district court denied Jill's request for a continuance in early February 2016, Jill voluntarily dismissed the actions. But four months later, on June 21, 2016, Jill filed a second application to modify, again asking for physical care. At trial, Jill also sought to modify the provision allowing Zachary to act as the final decision maker in the event of a disagreement between them. The court appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the children at Jill's request.

         In his answer, Zachary admitted to a breakdown in communication but denied it amounted to a material and substantial change in circumstances; he also requested physical care. But at trial, Zachary asked the court to deny Jill's modification ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.