IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JEFF MICHAEL HOCKEMEYER AND RENAE HOCKEMEYER Upon the Petition of JEFF MICHAEL HOCKEMEYER, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning RENAE HOCKEMEYER, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Grundy County, Joel A.
father appeals the physical care determination of a
S. Kaplan and C. Aron Vaughn of Kaplan & Frese, LLP,
Marshalltown, for appellant.
J. Wood and Kate B. Mitchell of Beecher, Field, Walker,
Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, PC, Waterloo, for appellee.
by Vogel, P.J., Tabor, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]
Hockemeyer appeals the physical care provision of the decree
dissolving his marriage with Renae Hockemeyer. Jeff claims
the district court should not have granted Renae physical
care of the child.
Background Facts & Proceedings
and Renae Hockemeyer met in 2007 in Kansas City, Missouri.
After Jeff was laid off following closure of the construction
office for which he worked, the two moved together to
Jeff's hometown of Grundy Center in February 2008. They
married in 2011, and had one child, M.J.H., in 2013. During
the marriage the parties resided in Grundy Center.
2016, the parties separated, with Jeff moving out of the
marital home. In July, Jeff filed a petition for dissolution
of the marriage. The parties reached an agreement to share
care of M.J.H. The marital home was foreclosed on following
the closing of Renae's clothing store in 2016.
has worked on the family farm eight miles northeast of Grundy
Center since 2008 with his father and brother. Jeff's
family is close, with Jeff's parents and brothers living
in the Grundy Center area and Des Moines. Jeff has been
living eight miles south of town with a roommate, but plans
to move into Grundy Center.
time of trial, Renae worked part time for Cambrian Granite
& Stone in Cedar Falls and hoped to move to full time
soon. In August 2017, Renae moved to Cedar Falls,
twenty-seven miles northeast of Grundy Center, where she
lives in a duplex house. She enrolled M.J.H. in daycare in
Cedar Falls. Renae is close to her family, who live in
Nebraska and Colorado. Renae assured the court she planned
stay in the area to maintain M.J.H.'s relationship with
the marriage, Renae acted as primary caretaker for M.J.H.
Renae scheduled doctor appointments, signed M.J.H. up for
extracurricular activities, and was the one getting M.J.H.
ready for the day. When M.J.H. would get sick, it was usually
Renae staying home and taking M.J.H. to doctor appointments.
Jeff would step in and help with care when needed, was
involved in M.J.H.'s day-to-day life, and shared in
household chores. Renae and Jeff consider each other to be
district court entered its dissolution decree on December 5.
The parties agreed to joint legal custody. The court found
Renae was M.J.H.'s primary caregiver but noted Jeff was
hands-on and active in raising M.J.H. The court noted if the
parties lived closer together it would have ordered joint
physical care, but found the distance between the residences
and M.J.H.'s eventual school district made "shared
physical placement . . . too troublesome and onerous upon the
child." The court granted physical care to Renae
with visitation for Jeff. Jeff filed a motion to ...