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Terry v. Iowa District Court For Polk County

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 18, 2018

MICHAEL TERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR POLK COUNTY, Defendant. RACHAEL TERRY n/k/a RACHAEL MCCANN, Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
v.
MICHAEL TERRY, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K. Vaudt, Judge.

         Former husband challenges the district court's order dismissing his applications for rule to show cause and granting his former wife's applications for rule to show cause. Former wife cross appeals from the denial of her request for attorney fees.

          Earl B. Kavanaugh of Harrison & Dietz-Kilen, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Stefanie J. Thomas of Wandro & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          MCDONALD, JUDGE.

         Michael Terry appeals the district court's order dismissing his numerous applications for rule to show cause. In his applications, Michael requested the district court find his former spouse, Rachael McMann, in contempt of court. Rachael filed her own applications for rule to show cause, alleging Michael violated a court order by failing to pay attorney fees. The district court found Michael in contempt of court, and Michael challenges this order by way of petition for writ of certiorari. In addition to challenging the finding of contempt, Michael contends the penalties imposed for the findings of contempt were illegal and not authorized by statute. Rachael filed a cross-appeal, challenging the district court's declination of her request for attorney fees.

         I.

         Michael and Rachael married in 2002 and divorced two years later by way of a stipulated dissolution decree. One child, C.T., was born into the marriage. The decree granted the parents joint legal custody of C.T., awarded physical care to Rachael, and awarded liberal visitation to Michael. The decree set forth the parents' responsibilities with respect to C.T. As relevant here, it provided:

Both parents shall participate equally in the rights and responsibilities of legal custodians, including but not limited to decisions affecting the child's . . . medical care . . . .
The parties shall consult with each other with respect to . . . medical care . . . related to the child, whose well-being and development shall at all times be the paramount consideration to the parties. If either party has knowledge of any illness, accident, or other matter seriously affecting the well being of the child, that party shall promptly notify the other, and except in emergencies, shall not take any action without notifying the other.
Both parties shall keep each other informed in a timely manner regarding anything, which affects the child's physical and emotional well-being. When time permits, each shall provide the other with advanced notice of any medical . . . treatments and appointments including hospitalizations and operations.
[Michael] shall have reasonable visitation as agreed upon between the parties. All visitations are to be exercised in a reasonable manner that is responsive to the minor child's best interest and schedule of activities. . . .

         Over the next several years Michael and Rachael went about their lives without incident. Michael lived overseas for a period of time, and Rachael and C.T. moved to ...


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