IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF CHRISTI ANNE FICEK AND LAWRENCE PETER FICEK, JR Upon the Petition of CHRISTI ANNE FICEK, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning LAWRENCE PETER FICEK, JR., Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Kevin McKeever,
Ficek appeals from the decree dissolving her marriage to
C. Wagner of John C. Wagner Law Offices, PC, Amana, for
Caitlin L. Slessor and Kerry A. Finley of Shuttleworth &
Ingersoll, PLC, Cedar Rapids, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
Ficek appeals from a decree dissolving her marriage to
Lawrence Ficek. Christi argues the district court erred by
granting the parties joint physical custody of their child
and awarding Lawrence part of Christi's retirement
account and pension account. Because joint physical care is
in the best interests of the child, we affirm the
decree's physical care arrangement. Also, because of
Lawrence's financial and nonfinancial contributions to
the marriage, we affirm the district court's property
distribution. We decline to award either party appellate
attorney fees and tax costs to both parties equally.
Background Facts and Proceedings
born in 1974, and Lawrence, born in 1969, were married in
2007. They have one child together, L.M.F., born in
2007. Christi is employed as the director of
operations at an employee benefits sales company earning
approximately $91, 250 per year. Lawrence is self-employed
and earns approximately $40, 000 per year.
filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage in December
2015. A trial was held, beginning on July 5, 2017. On July
27, the district court filed a decree of dissolution that
ordered joint legal custody and joint physical care of their
child. Christi was ordered to pay $390.60 per month in child
support. Lawrence was awarded one-half of the marital portion
of Christi's retirement account and one half of her
pension account. Christi appeals.
Standard of Review
review dissolution actions de novo as they are heard in
equity. In re Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671,
676 (Iowa 2013). "[W]e examine the entire record and
adjudicate anew the issue of the property distribution."
Id. While we give weight to the findings of the
district court, particularly concerning the credibility of
witnesses, we are not bound by those findings. Id.
However, "[w]e will disturb the district court's
ruling only when there has been a failure to do equity."
Id. (quotation marks and citations omitted).
question of physical care must be determined based on what is
in the best interest of the child. In re Marriage of
Hansen, 733 N.W.2d 683, 695 (Iowa 2007). "The
ultimate objective of a physical care determination is to
place the child in the environment most likely to bring him
to healthy mental, physical, and social maturity."
McKee v. Dicus, 785 N.W.2d 733, 737 (Iowa Ct. App.
2010). Stability and continuity in caregiving are primary
factors in determining an award of physical care.
Hansen, 733 N.W.2d at 696 (citing In re Marriage