IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF STACY HERUM AND SCOTT HERUM Upon the Petition of STACY HERUM, n/k/a STACY ZUMBACH, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning SCOTT HERUM, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Nancy L.
ex-husband appeals an order directing distribution of support
payments held in escrow awaiting resolution of his
Christine B. Skilton of Cronin, Skilton & Skilton, PLLC,
Charles City, for appellant.
J. Parrish of Miller, Pearson, Gloe, Burns, Beatty &
Parrish, PLC, Decorah, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
second time this year, Scott Herum appeals a district court
decision concerning his spousal and child support
obligations. A few months ago, we affirmed an order largely
denying his requests to modify the 2012 decree dissolving his
marriage to Stacy Zumbach. In re Marriage of Herum,
No. 17-1161, 2018 WL 2084852 (Iowa Ct. App. May 2, 2018).
While that appeal was pending, Scott unsuccessfully moved to
disqualify the district court judge assigned to the
modification action. In this appeal, he renews his call for
the judge's disqualification and attacks a December 2017
order directing the clerk of court to distribute support
payments. We affirm the district court and order Scott to pay
appellate attorney fees.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
February 2015, Scott filed a petition to modify his divorce
decree, including requests to terminate or reduce his spousal
and child support obligations. The following month, Chief
Judge Duane E. Hoffmeyer of the Third Judicial District
assigned Judge Nancy L. Whittenburg to preside over all
pretrial, trial, and posttrial matters in the modification
failure to keep current with his support obligations prompted
Stacy to file a contempt action in July 2016. Because the
contempt hearing took place on a court service day, Judge Don
E. Courtney presided. In light of Scott's payment of all
child support and alimony arrearages (totaling more than $10,
000) just before the rule-to-show-cause hearing in October
2016, Judge Courtney found "Scott lacked the requisite
intent" to merit a finding of contempt. But the court
noted "it was clear that Scott was in default on his
child support and alimony obligations" and as a remedy
the court awarded Stacy $2000 in attorney fees. Scott filed
an application to release liens on the child and spousal
support obligations, which Stacy resisted. The district court
ordered Scott to enter $11, 520 into an escrow account until
Judge Whittenberg "makes a decision as to whether that
amount is owed" by resolving the modification action.
2017, Judge Whittenberg ruled on Scott's modification
action, denying all his requests-except to enforce a planned
reduction in child support when the eldest of their three
children reached the age of eighteen. Stacy applied for
distribution of the escrow funds. Scott filed a
resistance-labeled an "answer"-as well as a motion
to reconsider. District court administration assigned the
matter to Judge Carl J. Petersen, who was then
court-service-day judge for Emmett County. On July 19, Judge
Whittenberg denied the motion to reconsider. That same day,
Judge Whittenberg issued an order rescinding prior orders of
Now on this date this matter has been brought to the
attention of the Court by District Court Administration. The
undersigned is currently the individually assigned judge in
this matter. On June 16, 2017, an Application for
Distribution of Support Payments was filed by the Petitioner.
On June 22, 2017, the Respondent replied to the application
by filing an "Answer" to the application. The
filing of an "Answer" triggered the individual
assignment of the Honorable Carl J. Petersen to his matter,
as well as the scheduling on a nonjury modification trial on
September 6, 2017. The undersigned finds that the Application
for Distribution is a matter which should be heard by the
undersigned. Accordingly, the assignment of Judge Carl J.
Petersen and the scheduling on a nonjury modification trial
should be rescinded.
Whittenberg set Stacy's application for a telephone
hearing. Scott filed a motion to disqualify, asserting ...