IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JENNIFER LYNN GEORGE AND ADAM GEORGE Upon the Petition of JENNIFER LYNN GEORGE, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning ADAM GEORGE, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M.
mother appeals a district court ruling on her modification
petition and the father's counterclaim for support
modification. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.
Elizabeth A. Kellner-Nelson of Kellner-Nelson Law Firm, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
Matthew J. Hemphill of Bergkamp, Hemphill & McClure,
P.C., Adel, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
George appeals a district court ruling on her modification
petition. The district court made limited modifications to
the visitation schedule and modified the child-support award
using Jennifer's earning capacity and Adam George's
actual earnings. Jennifer argues the visitation schedule
should be further modified for purposes of consistency and
the child-support modification resulted in substantial
injustice. Adam argues the modification petition was
correctly denied and the child support award was correctly
Background Facts and Proceedings
and Adam were married for nearly twelve years. The parties
share two children, born in 2005 and 2009. Jennifer and the
parties' two children moved to Iowa in March 2013, and
have lived with Jennifer's parents since relocation. The
parties dissolved their marriage by stipulation entered on
July 3, 2013, in Harris County, Texas. Adam moved to Iowa in
July 2013, shortly after the dissolution. Adam married his
current wife, Elizabeth, in November 2014.
became a licensed teacher in Iowa in 2001 and was relicensed
upon her return to Iowa in 2013. Although Jennifer did not
work outside the home for the last three to four years of the
parties' marriage, she is now employed as a substitute
teacher in the West Des Moines School District. Jennifer also
works part-time at her church and as a server at a
restaurant. During the marriage, Adam worked as a pilot for
ExpressJet. He began working for Spirit Airlines in February
2015. This change resulted in a salary reduction of more than
$38, 000.00 for two consecutive years. Elizabeth is a
business analyst at Mercer.
filed a petition to modify the original decree on May 6,
2014. She requested the court to modify the visitation
schedule from a non-traditional system of Adam choosing
certain times when he is not working to a traditional,
every-other-weekend visitation schedule. Jennifer made a
number of other claims for a more structured visitation
schedule, including a right of first refusal provision for
any time a parent cannot exercise visitation and a
requirement that the children be with the parent, not
"girlfriends, step-parents or random babysitters."
Adam argued no significant changes had occurred to warrant
visitation modification that had not been within the
contemplation of the court that entered the original decree.
Adam counter-claimed for a reduction in his child support
based on a substantial and material change in circumstances
of more than ten percent in the amount he should be required
to pay. He made other claims including, but not limited to, a
proposed requirement that the parents agree on all medical,
mental health, and chiropractic care, and extracurricular
sports and clarification on claiming the children for tax
district court found substantial and material changes in
circumstances had occurred regarding the visitation schedule
since the entry of the dissolution decree. The court also
found a substantial and material change in circumstances had
occurred "in that Respondent's child support
obligation does vary by 10% and should be and is hereby
modified pursuant to Iowa Code § 598.21(C)(2)(A)
[(2014)]." The district court modified the visitation
provisions by removing veto power on parenting time, and
concluded that the variable nature of Adam's work hours
made the schedule proposed by Jennifer impractical. The
holiday schedule was also modified because the court found it
was "in the children[s'] best interest to be with
either [Jennifer] or [Adam] on holidays and special
occasions." Adam's child support was reduced as of
January 1, 2017, from $1144.84 to $526.46, and would raise to
$700.76 as of March 1, 2017, based on Adam's expected
raise in income. Jennifer appeals.
Standard of Review
is de novo, in which we examine the entire record anew. Iowa
R. App. P. 6.907; In re Marriage of Steenhoek, 305
N.W.2d 448, 452 (Iowa 1981). Weight is given to factual
findings of the trial court, especially when concerning the
credibility of witnesses, but we are not bound by ...