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Collett v. Vogt

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 7, 2018

MATHEW S. COLLETT, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KARI A. VOGT, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Jeffrey A. Neary, Judge.

         Kari Vogt appeals a district court ruling on her petition to modify a paternity and custody decree.

          Amamda Van Wyhe of Van Wyhe Law Firm & Mediation Center, P.L.C., Sioux City, for appellant.

          Sabrina L. Sayler of Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, JUDGE.

         Kari Vogt appeals a district court ruling on her petition to modify a decree concerning the paternity and custody of her and Mathew Collett's minor child, B.A.C. She contends the district court erred in concluding she did not establish the change in circumstances necessary for modification of the school-selection provision of the original decree.[1] Both parties request an award of appellate attorney fees.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On Kari's appeal from the original decree, a panel of our court previously made the following findings as to these parties:

Mathew Collett and Kari Vogt were never married to each other, but lived together for a period of time, separating in February 2012. Shortly after they separated Kari discovered she was pregnant. On August 28, Mathew filed a petition to establish paternity, custody, parenting time, and child support. The parties' child was born in October 2012.
The trial was held on November 21, with physical care as the main issue. Mathew testified he was thirty-four years old and lived in Onawa, Iowa. He was employed as a carpenter for Morton Buildings. Mathew asked for joint physical care of the child. He stated he and Kari primarily communicated through text messages and about ninety-seven percent of the time they had "civil and respectful conversations." According to Mathew, the parties attended doctor visits together and were able to communicate about parenting issues. Mathew has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, which he controls with medication.
Kari was twenty-six years old at the time of the trial. She also lived in Onawa, but planned to move to Salix, which is twenty-five miles from Onawa. Kari was employed as a licensed practical nurse, working thirty-six hours per week. Kari was previously married and has two children, ages five and three, from that relationship. These two children are in Kari's physical care; the oldest child has special needs. Kari asserted the child in this case was bonded with her other two children. Kari requested physical care of the child. She testified the parties had communication problems, but were civil when communicating about fifty or seventy-five percent of the time.
The court entered a paternity decree on January 29, 2014. The court granted the parties joint legal custody and joint physical care of the child. . . . The court ordered the child should attend school in Onawa, unless the parties agreed otherwise.

Collett v. Vogt, No. 14-0530, 2014 WL 5862144, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Nov. 13, 2014). In ordering that the child attend a specific school district, the district court contemplated that "Kari resides in Onawa, but expresses a plan or desire to move to Salix (approximately 25 miles away) after the first of the year 2014." The district court further noted, "If Kari moves to Salix as she is contemplating, ...


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