IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF KATRINA LOUISE THOMPSON AND TY NASHUA THOMPSON Upon the Petition of KATRINA LOUISE THOMPSON, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning TY NASHUA THOMPSON, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Mahaska County, Joel D.
father appeals the custody and visitation provisions of a
decree of dissolution.
B. Kavanaugh of Harrison & Dietz-Kilen, P.L.C., Des
Moines, for appellant.
E. Goodlow, Albia, for appellee.
by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.
Thompson challenges the district court's determination
that Katrina Thompson should receive physical care of the
parties' children following their divorce. He maintains
shared physical care is most appropriate and, if not, he
should receive physical care of the children. He also argues,
in the event the court determines Katrina should have
physical care of the children, he should be awarded
additional visitation. Both parties seek appellate attorney
and Ty Thompson met at the University of Iowa while both were
students. Katrina graduated and commenced work. Ty left the
university without graduating but did obtain two associates
degrees at a community college. They married in 2002.
couple spent their married life in Oskaloosa. During the
marriage, Katrina worked full-time at several financial firms
and part-time as a university instructor, and Ty worked
part-time at UPS. In 2007, the couple had their first child,
S.V.T. Due to their work schedules, Ty provided daytime care
while Katrina provided evening care. In 2011, S.R.T. was
born. Initially, Ty continued providing daytime care while
Katrina worked. Katrina left the workforce in 2012 to be home
with the children. At the time of the dissolution, she
remained at home.
parties purchased a 'fixer-upper' house and began
extensive renovations. Around this time, the marriage became
strained. Ty alleges Katrina took over the childcare duties
and limited his parenting time. Katrina admitted she
"didn't trust Ty with the girls" but did not
provide reasons. Katrina filed for divorce in May 2015. Ty
moved out the family residence but remained in Oskaloosa. Ty
and Katrina set an informal visitation schedule with no
overnight visits for Ty. The informal visitation scheduled
was changed following a hearing on temporary matters. The
order on temporary matters granted Katrina physical care of
the children with Ty to have visitation each Wednesday from
6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and every other weekend from 6:00 p.m.
Friday to 6:00 p.m. Sunday. There were additional provisions
for holidays and summer vacation.
matter came on for trial. At trial, Katrina, Ty, and the
guardian ad litem testified. The parties both testified they
had a strained relationship but they could work together for
the good of their children. The guardian ad litem in the case
issued two reports recommending shared care despite the
conflict between the parties. The guardian ad litem's
testimony was consistent with the written reports. The
district court gave the parties joint legal custody of the
children, with Katrina to have physical care and Ty to have
visitation. The decision to award Katrina physical care was
based on the district court's finding that
"approximation weighs heavily in Katrina's
favor" and that the "communication between the
parties is not good." The decree did not discuss the
guardian ad litem's reports or testimony.
review of dissolution cases is de novo. In re Marriage of
McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671, 676 (Iowa 2013).
"Although our review is de novo, we afford deference to
the district court for institutional and pragmatic
reasons." See Hensch v. Mysak, ___ N.W.2d ___,
___, 2017 WL 4050671, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017). The court
gives weight to the findings of the district court,
particularly concerning credibility. See McDermott,
827 N.W.2d at 676. We will affirm the district court unless
the district court failed to do substantial equity. See
In re Marriage of Mauer, 874 N.W.2d 103, 106 (Iowa
2016). In our review, "[p]rior cases have ...