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In re Marriage of McFadon

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF DESIREE JUNE McFADON AND TIMOTHY I. McFADON Upon the Petition of DESIREE JUNE McFADON, n/k/a DESIREE JUNE WELSCH, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning TIMOTHY I. McFADON, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Stuart P. Werling, Judge.

         Respondent appeals the district court's ruling on postsecondary education expenses.

          Douglas E. Johnston, Muscatine, for appellant.

          Robert S. Gallagher Jr. and Peter G. Gierut of Gallagher, Millage & Gallagher, P.L.C., Bettendorf, for appellee.

          Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Timothy McFadon appeals the district court's ruling on postsecondary education expenses. We find the district court properly found Timothy should be required to pay a postsecondary education subsidy for all four years S.M. attends college. We award appellate attorney fees of $1000 to Desiree Welsch. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Timothy and Desiree McFadon, now known as Desiree Welsch, were previously married. They are the parents of two children, T.M., born in 1990, and S.M., born in 1995. The parties' dissolution decree, filed on April 14, 2006, provided:

the parties agree that post-secondary (college) education expenses as set forth in Section 598.21(5A) of the Code of Iowa (2003), [1] as amended, and that such statute currently provides that each would pay up to one-third (1/3) of the college expenses to include tuition, room, board, fees and books for an in-state public institution, provided the child is enrolled full-time and maintains a "C" average shall be heretofore reserved.

         On June 24, 2016, Desiree filed an application requesting Timothy be made responsible to pay his portion of S.M.'s postsecondary education expenses. S.M. was pursuing a four-year degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, and expected to graduate in May 2017. Desiree asked to have Timothy pay part of S.M.'s past and present educational expenses. Timothy agreed to contribute to S.M.'s educational expenses for the current school year, S.M.'s senior year, but argued he should not have to pay for prior years.

         A hearing was held January 25, 2017. Both parties testified T.M. attended Muscatine Community College for one semester and Timothy voluntarily paid one-third of the costs without court intervention. Desiree believed the parties would similarly enter into an agreement to pay S.M.'s educational expenses. She testified Timothy agreed she would take out a loan to pay for S.M.'s first year of college and Timothy would take out a loan to pay for the second year. She stated, however, Timothy had not paid any part of S.M.'s postsecondary education. At the time of the hearing, Desiree had parent plus student loans of $207, 000 for S.M.'s education.

         Timothy testified he paid some money directly to S.M., but he did not present evidence as to how much. He stated he called the school to discuss paying the school directly but did not make any payments to the school. Timothy testified he had discussions with Desiree about paying for S.M.'s education but "[n]othing ever got worked out." When asked if he had provided $21, 000 to S.M. over the past three years, he stated, "I've provided a lot of it, yes."

         The district court found Desiree was a registered nurse with gross annual income of $63, 000 and Timothy was a deputy sheriff with gross annual income of $58, 200. Using the cost to attend the University of Iowa, the court determined Desiree and Timothy would be required to contribute a maximum of $6219 each year. The court concluded Desiree would be personally responsible for $24, 876 of the joint student loans with S.M. The court found Timothy should pay ...


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