IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF ANNE ELIZABETH GRASK AND WILLIAM THOMAS GRASK Upon the Petition of ANNE ELIZABETH GRASK, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning WILLIAM THOMAS GRASK, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat
Grask appeals from the economic provisions of the decree
dissolving his marriage to Anne Grask.
M. Zimmerman of Grefe & Sidney, P.L.C., Des Moines, for
R. Hinshaw of The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, West Des
Moines, for appellee.
by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
(Bill) Grask appeals from the economic provisions of the
decree dissolving his marriage to Anne Grask. He contends the
property distribution and spousal-support award are
inequitable. He also challenges the child-support calculation
and an award of $40, 000 in trial attorney fees to Anne.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
and Bill married in 1990. They have three children; two of
the children have reached the age of majority, and the
youngest child was ten years old at the time of trial. On
April 24, 2015, Anne filed a petition seeking to dissolve the
marriage. Following trial, the district court entered the
decree dissolving their marriage in June 2017.
was fifty-two years old at the time of trial. She has a math
degree and worked as a teacher in the early years of the
marriage. She was earning approximately $18, 500 per year
when she stopped working in 2003, though she earned as much
as $25, 000 per year while working at a community college in
Germany between 1990 and 1995. Anne was unemployed at the
time of trial, but considering her "age, skill set,
education level, and the fact she has been out of the work
place for over fourteen years," the district court
determined her earning capacity to be $25, 000 per year.
was fifty-three years old at the time of trial. He is a
dentist and purchased Mercy Dental Clinic when the parties
moved to Iowa in 1997. He is the sole owner of and the only
dentist on staff at the clinic. After averaging Bill's
earnings from 2011 through 2015, the court found his gross
annual income to be $173, 515. The parties agreed the
practice was worth $300, 000 at the time of trial.
months leading up to Anne filing the dissolution petition,
Bill withdrew significant sums of money from his IRA, which
he used to pay a gambling debt. The value of the IRA
decreased from approximately $132, 000 on December 31, 2014,
to approximately $5000 on December 31, 2015. Bill admitted he
took early distributions of $51, 000 on January 27, 2015 and
$55, 250 on April 20, 2015 to pay off gambling debts. In
April and May of 2015, Bill testified that he withdrew $94,
000 from a Community Choice Credit Union
pay a gambling debt that was "close to [$100,
000]." Bill failed to disclose the existence of the
Community Choice Credit Union account until the first day of
trial. Between 2014 and 2016, Bill also withdrew money from
his two youngest children's college savings accounts in
the amount of $21, 500 and $20, 000 respectively, which he
claimed he used to pay the oldest child's college
tuition. However, the district court found his explanation
"suspect" in light of "the seriousness of his
gambling debt," the large withdrawals from his
retirement account, and his failure to disclose the existence
of the Community Choice Credit Union account before trial.
parties agreed to and the district court awarded joint legal
custody of their minor child with Anne acting as the
child's physical caretaker subject to visitation with
Bill. The court ordered Bill to pay Anne $1313 per month in
child support. The court also ordered Bill to pay Anne $3000
per month in spousal support until Anne's death or
regard to the marital property, the court awarded each party
their sole personal property and made each responsible for
their debts. It ordered the parties to sell the marital home
and divide the net proceeds of the sale equally, but it
granted Anne exclusive possession of the property until its
sale. It later enlarged the decree to make Bill responsible
for the mortgage payments pending the property's sale.
The court awarded the dental practice to Bill but ordered
Bill to pay Anne $150, 000. It also ordered Bill to pay $40,
000 of Anne's trial attorney fees.
court also enlarged the decree to find that Bill dissipated
assets by taking early withdrawals from his IRA account. It
found Anne was entitled to half the amount of the dissipated
assets and ordered Bill to pay Anne an additional $53, 125.
It also transferred the children's college savings
accounts to Anne.
Scope and Standard of Review.
review dissolution proceedings de novo. See In re
Marriage of McDermott, 827 N.W.2d 671, 676 (Iowa 2013).
We examine the entire record and adjudicate the issues anew.
See id. Although we are not bound by the district
court's factual findings, we give them weight, especially
if they concern witness credibility. See id.
complains the properly distribution is inequitable in several
respects. In addition to challenging the overall property
distribution, Bill challenges various decree provisions, as
well as the court's finding and remedy concerning his
dissipation of marital assets.
the court dissolves a marriage, it must divide the
parties' property equitably. See Iowa Code
§ 598.21(1) (2015). In determining what division is
equitable, the court must consider the factors set forth in
section 598.21(5). The trial court has considerable latitude
in making this determination, and we only reverse if
"there has been a failure to do equity." See In
re Marriage of Schriner, 695 N.W.2d 493, 496 (Iowa
equitable division does not necessarily mean an equal
division of each asset." In re Marriage of
Hazen, 778 N.W.2d 55, 59 (Iowa Ct. App. 2009). The
question is what is fair and equitable in each circumstance.
See id. "The partners in the marriage are
entitled to a just and equitable share of the property
accumulated through their joint efforts." Id.
complains about the decree's provision ordering him to be
responsible for the parties' 2015 tax liability. He
argues that Anne shared in the benefit of his earnings and
should likewise be required to share responsibility for the
state and federal taxes owed as a result of those earnings.
We agree. Because both benefited from Bill's income, it
is equitable to make require each party to pay ...