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Leiran v. Kleppe

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 15, 2018

JAMES LEE LEIRAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JEANEEN LYNNE KLEPPE, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, Margaret L. Lingreen, Judge.

         The father appeals from the district court's denial of his petition to modify physical care of his three children.

          Mark B. Anderson, Cresco, for appellant.

          Jeaneen Lynne Kleppe, Monona, appellee, pro se.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         James Leiran appeals the district court's denial of his petition to modify the physical-care determination regarding the three children he shares with Jeaneen Kleppe. The district court found James established a material and substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original decree but determined he had failed to establish that he could provide the children with care superior to that provided by Jeaneen.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         James and Jeaneen are the never-married parents of three children, who were born in 2009, 2011, and 2013. James and Jeaneen were in a relationship from 2008 until July 2014, and the original custody decree was entered in September 2015.

         In the decree, the court found that a physical altercation had taken place between James and Jeaneen in August 2013, in which James assaulted Jeaneen. The court noted, "James has a controlling and abusive personality. He has a history of prior abuse with his ex-wife that continued in his relationship with Jeaneen." Additionally, the court was "disturbed" by James's behavior of-while a no-contact order was in place-going to a nearby town to locate Jeaneen's car at the home of her new boyfriend and videotaping her car. He then set an alarm for several hours later to wake up in the middle of the night and return to the nearby town to video her car in the same position. He admitted in his testimony that he drove by the boyfriend's apartment building a number of times in order to check on Jeaneen's location.

         Moreover, Jeaneen was recognized by the court as the primary caregiver of the children. While James worked two jobs, it was also noted he "was not very involved when he was home."

         James and Jeaneen were given joint legal custody of the children, with Jeaneen receiving physical care. James had scheduled parenting time every other weekend and on Wednesdays overnight. He was ordered to pay $449 per month in child support for the three children, based in part on his previous child-support obligation to his ex-wife for their shared child.

         In September 2016, Jeaneen filed a petition for modification of child support, claiming the court should modify the obligation because James's salary had increased and because James's child with his wife had turned eighteen and no longer received support.

         James resisted Jeaneen's petition to modify child support and filed a counter-petition for change of custodial arrangement, asking the court to award ...


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