IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF AMBER BURINGTON AND CHRISTOPHER BURINGTON Upon the Petition of AMBER BURINGTON, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning CHRISTOPHER BURINGTON, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, Richard
D. Stochl, Judge.
Burington appeals the physical care and property division
provisions of the parties' dissolution decree.
AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.
J. Parrish of Miller, Pearson, Gloe, Burns, Beatty &
Parrish, P.L.C., Decorah, for appellant.
A. Becker of Tremaine & Becker Law, Sumner, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Burington appeals certain provisions of the decree dissolving
her marriage to Christopher (Chris) Burington. We affirm the
district court's decision placing the children in the
parties' joint physical care. We find the court did not
improperly value the assets awarded to Chris and no offset
needs to be made for the cash values of the parties' life
insurance policies. The property division should be modified
to set aside to Amber $20, 000 from the value of her 401(k)
account in recognition of her premarital assets. In order to
equalize the parties' 401(k) accounts, Chris should
receive $11, 899 from Amber's 401(k) through a qualified
domestic relations order. We affirm the district court's
decision denying Amber's request to require Chris to
maintain a life insurance policy naming the children as
beneficiaries. We determine each party should pay his or her
own appellate attorney fees.
Background Facts & Proceedings
and Amber were married in 2008. They have two children, N.B.,
born in 2010, and H.B., born in 2015.
parties lived in Cedar Rapids for several years. Throughout
the marriage, Amber has worked for Transamerica Life
Insurance Company as an accountant, earning about $80, 000
per year. Chris was initially employed as an auto mechanic,
but he later quit his job and started a business driving a
limousine, which he purchased contrary to Amber's wishes.
The limousine business was never financially successful. In
2014, the parties moved to northeast Iowa, where they both
had family. Amber now works remotely, although she is
required to travel to Cedar Rapids a few times a year for
business. Chris obtained employment as an auto mechanic for
Einck's Services, where he earns about $35, 000
parties separated in the spring of 2016. Soon thereafter,
Chris purchased a stock car and trailer. He stated he traded
in a motorcycle he owned prior to the marriage for the stock
car. One of Chris's hobbies is stock car racing. He
spends every Friday evening from May to August attending
races. Chris was also involved in a pool league on
2016, Amber made gifts to family members from bank accounts
held in her name. She gave her sister, Nichole Ackerson, $10,
000 to use towards a down payment on a house. Amber also gave
her parents $13, 000. She also took all of the money out of
two joint accounts-$578.08 from one account and $9017.28 from
another-which she used to pay her student loans, the debt on
a vacuum cleaner, and other expenses. Amber informed Chris
she was closing the joint bank accounts.
filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on July 5, 2016.
In an order on temporary matters filed on September 7, 2016,
the district court placed the children in Amber's
physical care, granting Chris visitation on alternating
weekends and two evenings each week. Chris was ordered to pay
child support of $685 per month. The dissolution trial was
held on August 30 and 31, 2017.
dissolution decree,  filed on April 11, 2018, the district
court granted the parties joint legal custody of the children
and joint physical care. Amber was ordered to pay $439 per month
in child support. The court set aside to Chris as premarital
assets: (1) the stock car, valued at $3000, because it was
obtained by trading in a motorcycle Chris owned before the
marriage; (2) Chris's tools, except for tools worth
$5000, which the court found he acquired during the marriage;
and (3) an IRA valued at $1341. Amber's pension from the
State of Minnesota, which accrued before she married Chris,
was set aside to her. Not including the parties'
retirement funds, the court awarded Chris assets worth $16,
670 and Amber assets worth $16, 164. The court found,
however, Amber dissipated assets worth $23, 000 by the gifts
to her sister and parents, and it ordered Chris would receive
one-half of this amount-$11, ...