IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF MICHAEL CLIFFORD ANDERSON AND ABBY LEA ANDERSON Upon the Petition of MICHAEL CLIFFORD ANDERSON, Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant, And Concerning ABBY LEA ANDERSON, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Story County, John J. Haney,
Anderson appeals, and Michael Anderson cross-appeals, from
the decree dissolving their marriage. AFFIRMED ON BOTH
D. Babich of Babich Goldman, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.
Dorothy L. Dakin of Kruse & Dakin, L.L.P., Boone, for
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE
and Abby Anderson married in 2004, had three children, and
divorced in 2017. In pertinent part, the district court (1)
granted the parents joint physical care of their children;
(2) declined Abby's request for spousal support; and (3)
concluded Michael should pay Abby $337.92 per month in child
appeal, Abby contends the district court should have granted
her physical care of the children and should have ordered
Michael to pay her rehabilitative alimony. On cross-appeal,
Michael argues the district court should have imputed income
to Abby for purposes of calculating child support.
care" is "the right and responsibility to maintain
a home for the minor child and provide for the routine care
of the child." Iowa Code § 598.1(7) (2017).
"Joint physical care" is "an award of physical
care of a minor child to both joint legal custodial parents
under which both parents have rights and responsibilities
toward the child including but not limited to shared
parenting time with the child, maintaining homes for the
child, providing routine care for the child and under which
neither parent has physical care rights superior to those of
the other parent." Id. § 598.1(4); see
also In re Marriage of Hansen, 733 N.W.2d 683, 690-91
contends the district court should have granted her physical
care of the children because she was "the primary
caregiver for most, if not all, of the parties'
marriage"; she and Michael had "significant
difficulties in communication"; they were
"distrustful]" and unable "to show mutual
respect to one another"; they were "often in
disagreement" on parenting decisions, and "the
children [were] not adjusting that well to the shared care
district court addressed these concerns. The court stated,
"[D]espite their respective faults and recent posturing
for trial, Michael and Abby are good people, good parents,
and both love and care a great deal for their children."
The court pointed out that the parents lived "within a
few blocks of each other," had "strong family
support systems in the area," and had "actively
cared for the children both before and since their
separation." Although Abby was "primary caretaker
in recent years," the court found "Michael's
role and contributions in this regard [could not] be said to
weigh against him." The court further found the parents
were able to support each other's relationship with the
children and were able to communicate with each other
concerning the children. In the court's view, the
parents' "increased tensions in preparing for
trial" were "temporary and situational" and
they would communicate more effectively moving forward.
de novo review of the record, we concur in these findings.
Michael was a significant part of the children's lives
throughout the marriage. He testified that both he and Abby
"worked full time for many years" and both attended
to the children's daily needs and went to their
activities. In his words, he "tried to be the most
active and attentive dad that [he] kn[e]w how to be even with
working a full-time job." Although Abby testified to
providing the lion's share of the children's care
before a temporary joint physical care order was filed and
she stated Michael spent long hours at work, she agreed
Michael actively parented their first child and was involved
with the children in other respects.
Michael's job was restructured, affording him "a lot
more flexibility." As noted by the district court, he
moved to a townhome "less than two blocks" from the
home he had shared with Abby and in which Abby still lived.