IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF BROOK ANN EGGELING AND ADAM CONRAD EGGELING Upon the Petition of BROOK ANN EGGELING, n/k/a BROOK ANN LAPKE, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, And Concerning ADAM CONRAD EGGELING, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Jeffrey A.
former wife appeals a modification order granting physical
care of their two children to her former husband; the former
husband cross appeals.
C. Badding of Neu, Minnich, Comito, Halbur, Neu &
Badding, PC, Carroll, for appellant.
Michael J. Riley and Bryan D. Swain of Salvo, Deren, Schenck,
Gross, Swain & Argotsinger, PC, Harlan, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Lapke and Adam Eggeling have two children: eleven-year-old
A.E. and seven-year-old B.E. After their divorce in 2014,
Brook and Adam exercised joint physical care, which worked
well for three years. But in June 2017, Brook moved ninety
miles from their home town, prompting Adam to seek
modification of the shared-care arrangement. The district
court granted physical care of the children to Adam and
liberal visitation to Brook. Challenging that decision, Brook
argues the district court placed too much weight on geography
and too little emphasis on which parent would be the better
caregiver. She asks us to award her physical care. Short of
that, she seeks expanded weekend and summer visitation. Adam
cross-appeals, asserting Brook's mid-week overnight visit
is too taxing on the children given the distance between
physical care after Brook's move is difficult because
both Brook and Adam are able and active parents. The district
court appropriately assessed "which setting and
parenting skill set is best for the children since the
parties no longer live within a short distance of each
other." After reviewing the record de novo, but giving
appropriate deference to the district court's ability to
see the parties testify in person,  we find no compelling reason
to disturb the physical-care and visitation provisions in the
district court's modification rulings. Accordingly, we
affirm on both the appeal and cross appeal.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
and Adam married in 2006 and divorced in 2014. During the
marriage, they had two children: A.E., born in 2007, and
B.E., born in 2011. Brook worked as the radiology manager at
the community hospital. Adam was employed by the Charter Oak
schools, first as a business teacher and eventually as an
elementary school principal. At the time of the divorce, both
parties lived in Crawford County and agreed to joint physical
own admission, Adam struggled with the divorce. He pleaded
guilty to criminal mischief in 2015 for vandalizing a car
belonging to Brook's new boyfriend, Steve, and later to
operating while intoxicated. But Adam successfully discharged
the deferred judgments in both cases and retained his
employment during that time. Adam also started living with
Jessica, who has three children of her own.
2017, Brook quit her job and moved to Papillion, Nebraska, to
be with her then fiancé, Steve, an emergency room
physician. Papillion, a suburb of Omaha, is about ninety
miles away from Denison, where Adam continued to live. After
the move, Brook decided to be a "stay-at-home mom."
Brook married Steve in July 2017.
same month, Adam applied to modify the physical-care
arrangement for A.E. and B.E. The application alleged
Brook's move to Nebraska constituted a substantial change
in circumstances, and Adam sought physical care of the
children. The application also expressed uncertainty about
where the children would attend school in the fall of 2017.
Pending a final ruling on Adam's modification request,
the district court issued a temporary order in August
directing the children remain enrolled in the
Denison-Schleswig School District.
court held an evidentiary hearing in November 2017. Of
special concern to both parents was A.E.'s academic
progress. The fourth grader struggled with reading and math
and had an individualized education plan (IEP). Brook had
investigated tutoring opportunities for A.E. in the Omaha
area. Adam testified to emailing A.E.'s teachers for