CLINTON D. CARMICHAEL, Plaintiff-Appellee,
STACY LYNN PHILPOTT, n/k/a STACY LYNN ANDERSON, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Taylor County, John D.
mother appeals from the district court's ruling on the
petition to modify, which placed physical care of the
parties' minor child with the father. AFFIRMED.
Douglas Primmer of Chad Douglas Primmer, P.C., Council
Bluffs, for appellant.
L. Jungmann of David L. Jungmann, P.C., Greenfield, for
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and
Anderson (formerly known as Stacy Philpott) appeals from the
district court's ruling on the petition to modify, which
placed physical care of the parties' minor child with the
father, Clinton Carmichael. On appeal, Stacy maintains the
district court improperly considered testimony from the
guardian ad litem (GAL) over her objection. She also
maintains the court erred in its determination that a
substantial change in circumstances warranting modification
had taken place.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
parties were never married. They have one child together,
born in 2002. In 2004, a decree was entered establishing
paternity, visitation, and child support and placing the
child in Stacy's physical care.
2013, Clinton filed a petition to modify the decree. The
parties ultimately reached an agreement, and in 2014, the
court entered an order modifying the original decree pursuant
to the parties' stipulation. In part, the parties agreed,
"Each parent and the child shall be entitled to have
telephone, internet and other contact with each other at all
reasonable times." In support of this provision, Clinton
agreed to pay Stacy twenty dollars per month to go toward the
child's cell phone bill and neither party was to take the
child's cell phone as a form of punishment without the
approval of both parties. Additionally, Clinton was given
visitation with the child during almost her entire summer
break from school. The parties agreed the child would be
"permitted and encouraged to participate in
school-sponsored extracurricular activities." As a
"parenting rule, " the agreement also provided the
parties "should refrain from . . . excessive alcohol
consumption . . . while [the child] is in their care."
23, 2016, Stacy filed an application to show cause,
maintaining Clinton had violated a court order by drinking in
the presence of the child.
one week later, Clinton also filed an application to show
cause, claiming Stacy had violated a court order by refusing
to allow Clinton his scheduled visitation with the child over
the holiday weekend of Memorial Day and during the
child's summer break. He also claimed Stacy was
preventing the child from speaking to him. The same day,
Clinton filed a petition to modify the decree, asking the
court to place the child in his physical care. Clinton also
asked the court to appoint a GAL to "make report to the
court regarding the home conditions of both parties and their
parenting capabilities, and other matters pertinent to the
best interests of" the child.
combined hearing in July 2016, the court heard evidence on
each party's motion to show cause and Clinton's
request for a GAL to be appointed. Following the hearing, the
court denied Stacy's motion to show cause, finding she
had failed to establish Clinton was drinking excessively in
front of the child, but granted Clinton's motion. The
court found Stacy had intentionally denied Clinton's
visit with the child over Memorial Day weekend and at the
beginning of the child's summer break. Additionally, the
court appointed a GAL for the child and instructed her to
conduct in-person interviews with the child and visit the
home of both parents, among other things.
pretrial conference was scheduled for August 30. Neither
Stacy nor her attorney appeared at the conference.
Additionally, Stacy failed to file an affidavit of her
financial status, her child support guideline worksheet, and