IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF LEISHA F. KRAGEL AND RANDALL P. KRAGEL Upon the Petition of LEISHA F. KRAGEL, Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, And Concerning RANDALL P. KRAGEL, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee
from the Iowa District Court for Ida County, Duane E.
Kragel appeals the district court's denial of his
petition for modification of a dissolution decree. Leisha
Kragel cross-appeals the same ruling which denied her request
for attorney fees in the modification proceeding.
A. Schrunk of Irene A. Schrunk Law Firm, Sioux City, for
Rosalynd J. Koob, Ellen C. Tolsma, and Joel D. Vos of Heidman
Law Firm, L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellee.
Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Potterfield, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief judge.
Kragel appeals the district court's ruling denying his
petition for the modification of a dissolution decree. He
contends (1) the district court applied an incorrect legal
standard and erred in failing to find a material change in
circumstances to support modification of his spousal-support
obligation, and (2) in effect, the district court's
ruling modified the property-distribution provisions of the
original decree. He requests an award of appellate attorney
fees. Leisha Kragel cross-appeals, challenging the denial of
her request for attorney fees. She also requests an award of
appellate attorney fees. We reverse the district court and
modify the spousal-support obligation because Randall proved
a material and substantial change of circumstances, and we
affirm on the cross-appeal.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
court previously made the following findings as to the
parties' marriage and dissolution:
Randall and Leisha Kragel were married in 1981. They have two
children who are now adults. Leisha filed a petition for
dissolution of marriage in October 2009. The dissolution
hearing took place over the course of six days between April
and December 2011.
. . . .
The district court entered a dissolution decree for the
parties on March 26, 2012. . . . The court awarded Randall
net marital assets valued at $1, 954, 546 and Leisha net
marital assets valued at $609, 283. The court ordered Randall
to pay an equalization payment of $672, 631, payable over a
period of eight years. The district court ordered Randall to
pay rehabilitative alimony to Leisha of $5000 per month for
eight years, and then $3000 per month for a period of two
years. Additionally, the court ordered Randall to pay $30,
000 toward Leisha's trial attorney fees.
In re Marriage of Kragel, No. 12-0925, 2013 WL
5743745, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 23, 2013) (footnote
omitted), further review denied (Dec. 24, 2013).
Leisha appealed the economic and spousal-support provisions
of the decree. Id. On appeal, due to the length of
the marriage and disparity in the parties' income, this
court modified the district court's
rehabilitative-alimony award to a traditional-alimony award
in the amount "of $6000 per month until [Randall]
reaches the age of sixty-five, and then $4000 per month until
either party dies or Leisha remarries." Id. at
March 2016, Randall filed a petition to modify his
spousal-support obligation, asserting a decrease in his
income amounted to a substantial change in circumstances.
Following a two-day trial, the district court denied
Randall's petition. The court concluded a fluctuation of
farm income was contemplated by the decretal court and the
alleged change was not permanent. The court also denied
Leisha's request for an award of attorney fees. The
district court denied Randall's subsequent motion to
enlarge or amend. Randall appeals, and Liesha cross-appeals.
Scope and Standard of Review.
to modify a decree of dissolution of marriage are equitable
proceedings, which we review de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907;
In re Marriage of Kupferschmidt, 705 N.W.2d 327, 331
(Iowa Ct. App. 2005). We give weight to the factual findings
of the district court, especially when considering the