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In re Marriage of Flaugh

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF CRAIG DARREN FLAUGH AND DAWN FLAUGH Upon the Petition of CRAIG DARREN FLAUGH, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning DAWN FLAUGH, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Judge.

         Respondent appeals the physical care and visitation provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.

          Grant D. Beckwith of Iowa legal Aid, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Tara S. Vonnahme of Vonnahme Law, PC, Sioux City, until withdrawal, then Angela H. Kayl of Kayl Law Office, Sioux City, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals the physical care and visitation provisions of the parties' dissolution decree. We find the father is the more stable parent and should have physical care of the child. The mother's proposed adjustment to the visitation schedule would not be in the child's best interests. We affirm the physical care and visitation provisions of the dissolution decree.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Craig and Dawn Flaugh were married in 2016. They have one child, born in 2016. Craig filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on April 11, 2017. The parties agreed to joint physical care while the dissolution action was pending.

         The dissolution trial was held December 14, 2017. Craig was then forty-four years old. He was previously incarcerated on federal drug charges and was on supervised release. He had recently moved from Sioux City to Alvord, Iowa, because it was closer to his job as a brake press operator in Rock Valley. He provides health insurance for the child. Craig lives on a small farm. He decorated a room for the child and has daycare set up for the child while he is at work.

         Dawn was forty-one years old at the time of the dissolution trial. She is not employed. Dawn receives Social Security disability benefits due to her mental health problems. She takes medication for her condition but testified she sometimes took "drug holidays," when she would not take her prescribed medication. Dawn testified she might go back to school or seek a part-time job in the future.

         Dawn was charged with domestic abuse assault in September 2016 after she purposefully drove her vehicle into Craig's vehicle during an argument. In December 2016, during an argument with Craig, Dawn stabbed herself in the arm and stomach with a knife, stating "[s]he wanted [Craig] to see the pain that she was in." The child was in the home during this incident. In another incident, Dawn and her adult daughter took a marijuana cigarette to Dawn's adult son for his birthday, although he was in a facility attempting to address his substance-abuse problem. Dawn was barred from visiting her son for a period of time.

         The district court granted the parties joint legal custody of the child with Craig having physical care. The court found Craig was the more stable parent and was better equipped to assume physical care. Dawn was granted visitation on alternating weekends, every Wednesday night, alternating holidays, and three weeks in the summer. She was ordered to pay child support of sixty-two dollars per month. Dawn appeals the district court's decision.

         II. ...


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