IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JEFFREY J. MONAHAN AND RONAE L. MONAHAN Upon the Petition of JEFFREY J. MONAHAN, Petitioner-Appellee, AndConcerning RONAE L. MONAHAN n/k/a RONAE L. SCHMEITS, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Shelby County, Gregory W.
challenges the economic provisions of the decree dissolving
her marriage. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED AND
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, PC,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
Michael J. Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Law Offices, PC,
Council Bluffs, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
appeal arises out of the acrimonious dissolution of the
thirty-year marriage of Jeff and Ronae Monahan. During the
course of the proceedings, there were allegations of a
murderous plot, domestic abuse, embezzlement, theft, fraud,
waste, and dissipation of marital assets, among other things.
Some of the accusations were well-founded. For example, in
violation of a court order, Ronae entered the marital home
and took a substantial amount of the jewelry and personal
property. Ronae also had her employee burn relevant business
records. In addition, the district court found there is some
evidence supporting Jeff's contention that Ronae
investigated how to kill Jeff by poisoning him with Coumadin.
district court received the evidence over the course of a
four-day trial, divided the marital property, ordered Jeff to
pay Ronae an equalization payment, and awarded Ronae alimony:
Jeff shall pay a cash settlement to Ronae as part of the
distribution of assets in the total amount of $294, 480. That
cash settlement shall be payable in 7 equal annual
installments of $42, 068.57. The first installment is due
July 1, 2017, and installments in that same amount are due on
July 1 of each subsequent year until the cash settlement is
paid. This cash settlement is a judgment against Jeff in
favor of Ronae. As long as payment [sic] are timely made they
shall not accrue interest.
Commencing July 1, 2024, Jeff shall pay spousal support to
Ronae in the amount of $2, 000 per month. This spousal
support shall continue until either party dies, Ronae
remarries, or Ronae reaches the age of 66, whichever comes
appeal, Ronae contends the district court failed to do equity
in dividing the marital property and awarding her spousal
support. She also contends the award of spousal support
should be secured by a life insurance policy insuring
Jeff's life. Finally, she seeks trial and appellate
review in a marriage action is de novo. See In re
Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671, 676 (Iowa 2013).
"Although our review is de novo, we afford deference to
the district court for institutional and pragmatic reasons.
This means we give weight to the district court's
findings of fact. This also means we will affirm the district
court unless the district court failed to do substantial
equity." Hensch v. Mysak, 902 N.W.2d 822, 824
(Iowa Ct. App. 2017). We review the district ...