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In re Marriage of Ankenbauer

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 5, 2018

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JULIE ANN ANKENBAUER AND MARTYN DAVID ANKENBAUER Upon the Petition of JULIE ANN ANKENBAUER, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning MARTYN DAVID ANKENBAUER, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James M. Richardson, Judge.

         Julie Ankenbauer appeals the economic provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Martyn Ankenbauer. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.

          Kyle E. Focht of Focht Law Office, Council Bluffs, for appellant.

          Michael J. Winter, Council Bluffs, for appellee.

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

          DANILSON, Chief Judge.

         Julie Ankenbauer and Martyn Ankenbauer were married for forty-three years at the time of the dissolution trial in May 2017. Both parties had been employed for more than thirty years and both were retired at the time of the dissolution.

         During the marriage, Julie worked for the federal government. She was employed in the postal department and the Corp of Engineers. Julie retired in December 2010. In 2015, Julie cashed out her retirement account, a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which at that time totaled $76, 192.18. From that total, $15, 238.44 was withheld for federal tax, and Julie received a lump sum of $60, 953.74. Julie used $43, 813 to pay off the mortgage on the couple's home purchased in 1984, [1] $4275 to pay 2015 taxes on the property, and $4774 to pay a joint credit card debt. The parties placed the remaining funds in their safe, which Martyn retains.[2] In cashing out the TSP account, Julie no longer receives a monthly supplement annuity. In lieu of Social Security benefits, Julie receives benefits via an annuity from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Her gross monthly benefits are $2823 per month. Julie had been providing the couple's health insurance (via a $560 per month deduction from her monthly benefits). When she no longer carries Martyn on her health insurance, Julie's net monthly income will be $2035.[3] Her monthly expenses are $1828, which includes $700 for rent. She asked that the district court award her $500 per month in spousal support and fifty percent of Martyn's Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) benefits.

         Martyn had been employed by the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department for about thirty years. His affidavit of financial status indicates he currently receives Social Security and IPERS benefits. Per Martyn's 2016 IPERS income verification, his net monthly income is $2496.80[4] and his Social Security statement indicates a monthly income of $1456 with no deductions, for a combined monthly income of $3952.80.[5] Martyn resides in the marital residence.[6] When asked what his monthly expenses were, Martyn testified he had paid all the household bills for last ten-month period, which totaled $5400. He stated Julie should pay one-half of that amount, but then acknowledged some of those expenses were his alone. He did not provide a statement of expenses pre-trial. When asked for his "best estimate" of his monthly expenses, he responded, "Don't have a clue." Martyn testified he would not qualify for Medicare for "twenty-four months," and he would have to purchase insurance when Julie's policy no longer covered him. He estimated coverage would cost "in the neighborhood of $600 to $700 a month."

          The district court determined each party should receive fifty percent of the marital assets. The court awarded to Julie one-half the equity in the marital residence; the jewelry she had purchased during the marriage, valued at $5000; a 2003 Honda, valued at $1500; and the household goods the parties had previously divided.

         The court awarded Martyn the marital residence, valued at $140, 000; the numerous firearms purchased or inherited during the marriage, valued at $15, 000[7]; a 2008 Honda, valued at $5500; the funds in his savings and checking accounts, in the amount of $7000; and the household goods the parties had previously divided. The court set aside to Martyn $25, 000 he inherited after his mother died in 2015.[8] The court ordered Martyn to make an equalization payment to Julie for $80, 000. The court did not divide Martyn's IPERS benefits and did not award spousal support. Julie filed a motion to enlarge and amend, which the court denied. Julie now appeals.

         We review dissolution cases de novo. In re Marriage of Sullins, 715 N.W.2d 242, 247 (Iowa 2006). We will disturb a ruling only when there has been a failure to do equity. In re Marriage of Benson, 545 N.W.2d 252, 257 (Iowa 1996).

         Julie argues the economic provisions of the decree are inequitable. We agree.

Iowa is an equitable distribution state. This "means that courts divide the property of the parties at the time of divorce, except any property excluded from the divisible estate as separate property, in an equitable manner in light of the particular circumstances of the parties." All property of the marriage that exists at the time of the ...

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