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In re Marriage of Koellner

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF TIMOTHY NORBERT KOELLNER AND LESA PAULINE KOELLNER Upon the Petition of TIMOTHY NORBERT KOELLNER, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning LESA PAULINE KOELLNER, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Van Buren County, John G. Linn, Judge.

         Timothy Koellner appeals the child-support provision of the decree dissolving his marriage to Lesa Koellner.

          Gregory G. Milani of Orsborn Milani Mitchell Goedken Larson & Cox, LLP, Ottumwa, for appellant.

          Cynthia D. Hucks of Box & Box, Ottumwa, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., Bower, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, Senior Judge.

         Timothy Koellner appeals the child-support provision of the decree dissolving his marriage to Lesa Koellner. Timothy generally argues the district court erred in calculating his income and, therefore, his child-support obligation. Lesa requests an award of appellate attorney fees.

         The parties were married in 2011 and their relationship produced three children, born in 2007, 2013, and 2014. In January 2016, Timothy filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The parties entered into a stipulation and settlement agreement resolving all issues except child support. Among other things, the parties agreed to joint legal custody with Lesa being granted physical care of the children, and to a schedule alternating their annual entitlement to claim the children as tax dependents, with Lesa claiming two of the children and Timothy one, and then Timothy claiming two of the children and Lesa one.[1] The district court entered orders approving and adopting the agreement and setting a hearing concerning the issue of child support.

         The parties submitted the matter upon exhibits, affidavits, child-support-guidelines worksheets, and limited testimony. In its ruling, the district court stated "it must consider the earning capacity of both parties" and determined Timothy's income to be $34, 000.00 per year and Lesa's $8000.00 per year. The court then calculated Timothy's child-support obligation based on the determined incomes and the parties' prior stipulations. Based on its calculations, the court ordered

          Timothy to pay Lesa monthly child support in the amount of $758.00 so long as all three children are eligible, $662.00 so long as two children are eligible, and $485.60 so long as one child is eligible.

         As noted, Timothy appeals. Our review is de novo. See In re Marriage of Hansen, 886 N.W.2d 868 (Iowa Ct. App. 2016). We will disturb the district court's ruling only if there has been a failure to do equity. In re Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671, 676 (Iowa 2013).

         On appeal, Timothy grasps the district court's imputation and earning-capacity language and complains of the court's determination of his annual income, asserting the "court imputed income to [him] that was $13, 500 per year more than his actual income." He asserts the court used his earning capacity rather than his actual income and claims the grounds for doing so were not supported by sufficient evidence.[2] Neither party complains of the court's determination of Lesa's income nor the way the court calculated Timothy's child-support obligations based on its income determinations.

         At the April 2017 hearing, Timothy submitted an affidavit in which he reported his W-2 wages for 2016 were $20, 500.00. The attached W-2 form provided by Timothy's employer, Koellner Brothers Ltd., notes his "previously reported" income was $33, 449.20 but his "corrected" income was $20, 500.00. Timothy also reported he receives the benefit of free housing from his employer and estimated the value of such benefit to be $350.00 per month, or $4200.00 per year. He therefore represented his income for child-support-calculation purposes amounted to $24, 700.00 per year.

         Lesa presented the court with an affidavit Timothy submitted in a separate custody matter involving a child he fathered with another woman; this affidavit was executed approximately one month before the child-support hearing in the instant case. Therein, Timothy reported his income to be $33, 449.00. Both of Timothy's affidavits indicate that his employer pays for Timothy's health insurance at no cost to Timothy. In his affidavit in the separate custody action, Timothy stated his income to be $33, 449.00 and stated his "employer provided health insurance cost is approximately $12, 000." In reaching his gross income, Timothy appears to have taken his gross income for 2016 of $33, ...


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