IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF ASHLEY IRENE MAY SIMMONS AND BRUCE WAYNE SIMMONS Upon the Petition of ASHLEY IRENE MAY SIMMONS, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning BRUCE WAYNE SIMMONS, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Union County, Dustria A.
challenges child support provisions of a modification decree.
M. O'Donohoe of Elwood, O'Donohoe, Braun & White,
LLP, Charles City, for appellant.
Irene May Simmons, Creston, pro se appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
Simmons appeals from a modification decree increasing his
child support obligation. The record reflects Bruce and
Ashley Simmons divorced in 2009. Bruce was originally ordered
to pay $615 per month in child support for the parties'
two children. After a series of modification actions,
Bruce's support obligation was reduced to $450 per month.
Bruce has three adult children from a prior marriage.
Although he does not have an ongoing child support obligation
for these children, he was ordered to pay $474 per month in
delinquent child support. Ashley filed for the present
modification action in January 2016. The matter was tried to
the district court on stipulated facts on the following
issue: "what, if any, credit should be given against
Bruce Wayne Simmons' income . . . for back support owed
for his children from his first marriage." The district
court found Bruce was not entitled to any reduction in his
child support obligation based on payments owed to his first
wife for delinquent child support. The district court ordered
Bruce pay child support in the amount of $710.21 per month
plus $150.00 per month for cash medical support.
review the decision to modify a dissolution decree de novo.
See In re Marriage of Mihm, 842 N.W.2d 378, 381
(Iowa 2014). Still, "[w]e will not disturb a district
court's ruling on a modification unless that ruling
failed to do equity." Id. To the extent Bruce
challenges the district court's interpretation of a
statute, our review is for correction of errors at law.
See Branstad v. State ex rel. Nat. Res. Comm'n,
871 N.W.2d 291, 294 (Iowa 2015). Bruce raises three
challenges to the modification decree, which we address in
argues the district court erred in concluding the amount paid
for delinquent support should not be used as a deduction in
determining his net monthly income. We disagree. Iowa Court
Rule 9.5 provides, "In the guidelines the term 'net
monthly income' means gross monthly income less
deductions for the following: . . . (8) Prior obligation of
child support and spouse support actually paid pursuant to
court or administrative order." Iowa Ct. R. 9.5(8). In
interpreting this rule, our supreme court has unambiguously
concluded "payments made for arrearages in child support
are not to be deducted from gross income when determining net
income. We do not believe it makes any difference whether the
payments are for an obligation from a prior case."
State ex rel. Davis by Eddins v. Bemer, 497 N.W.2d
881, 882-83 (Iowa 1993); see also State ex rel. Nielsen
v. Nielsen, 521 N.W.2d 735, 737 (Iowa 1994). While Bruce
contends the reasoning in the case law is flawed, "[w]e
are not at liberty to overturn Iowa Supreme Court
precedent." State v. Hastings, 466 N.W.2d 697,
700 (Iowa Ct. App. 1990). The district court did not err in
calculating Bruce's net monthly income.
next argues federal law limits the total amount of child
support a party must pay. He relies on Title 15, section
1673(b)(2) (2016) of the United States Code. That provision
The maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an
individual for any workweek which is subject to garnishment
to enforce any order for the support of any person shall not
(A) where such individual is supporting his spouse or
dependent child (other than a spouse or child with respect to
whose support such order is used), 50 per centum of such
individual's disposable earnings for that week; and
(B) where such individual is not supporting such a spouse or
dependent child described in clause (A), 60 per centum of
such individual's disposable earnings for that week;
except that, with respect to the disposable earnings of any
individual for any workweek, the 50 per centum specified in
clause (A) shall be deemed to be 55 per centum and the 60 per
centum specified in clause (B) shall be deemed to be 65 per
centum, if and to the extent that such earnings are subject
to garnishment to enforce a support order with respect to a