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In re Marriage of Frick

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 23, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JANE M. FRICK AND DUANE T. FRICK, JR. Upon the Petition of JANE M. FRICK, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning DUANE T. FRICK, JR., Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L. Wittig Zrinyi, Judge.

         Duane Frick challenges the economic provisions arising out of the dissolution of his marriage.

          Joshua Moon, Chad A. Swanson, and Erin Patrick Lyons (until withdrawal) of Dutton, Braun, Staack & Hellman, P.L.C., Waterloo, and Clarence Joseph May III of The May Law Firm, P.C., Dubuque, for appellant.

          Jenny L. Weiss of Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., Dubuque, for appellee.

          Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Duane Frick appeals the economic provisions of the district court's decree dissolving his marriage to Jane Frick, n/k/a Jane Saunders. We find a discrepancy occurred in the court's calculations and modify the economic distributions accordingly. We affirm as modified the district court decree regarding spousal support and life insurance.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Duane and Jane were married on April 16, 1994. They had two children together, who have both reached the age of majority. The older child was a senior in college at the time of trial, and the younger child lived and worked in the same town as the parents. At the time of trial, Duane and Jane were co-guardians for their grandchild C.F., born in 2011.

         Jane is fifty-five years old. She earned a college degree in education prior to the marriage. Jane worked in the finance and insurance industry before the parties married, then in 1999 decided to stay home with the children, care for her ailing parents, and occasionally substitute teach. She maintained her teaching certification until about 2011.[1] She taught part time from 2009 to 2011, then homeschooled one child and stayed home with the parties' grandchild. She began working part-time for Mercy Health Center following the parties' separation in 2016, earning approximately eleven dollars an hour with no benefits.

         Duane has worked in the finance and insurance industry since before the parties married. Duane is fifty years old. He earned a master's degree in 1998. At the time of trial, he was employed by Heartland Financial as a senior vice president. His contract provides for a salary of $150, 000, benefits, restricted stock units, and offers the possibility of bonuses. Duane received a $10, 000 signing bonus in 2016, and was guaranteed a bonus for 2016.

         At Duane's prompting, in 2015 the parties downsized to a smaller home. They purchased a home for $254, 000, carrying a mortgage of $195, 296 at the time of trial. Throughout the marriage, Duane supervised the family's finances and Jane was not restricted to a budget. The new house has required significant repair work. Following their separation, Jane stayed in the marital home, and Duane moved in with his parents. Duane and Jane were paying rent and utilities for their adult daughters at the time of trial.

         In February 2016, Jane filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. In her petition Jane requested temporary and permanent spousal support and attorney fees. A trial was held in February 2017. The parties were unable to reach an agreement on any financial provisions before trial.

         The court entered its decree April 18. The parties filed multiple post-trial and post-decree motions. Among other issues, Duane moved pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2) the court amend, enlarge, or modify its holdings relative to the economic provisions on appeal. On August 21, Duane filed the current appeal.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review equitable actions de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. We examine the record and adjudicate the rights of the parties anew. In re Marriage of Williams, 589 N.W.2d 759, 761 (Iowa Ct. App. 1998). Because the district court is in a unique position to hear the evidence, we defer to the district court's determinations of credibility. In re Marriage of Brown, 487 N.W.2d 331, 332 (Iowa 1992). While our review is de novo, the district court is given latitude to make ...


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