IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF CHRISTOPHER DAUTERIVE AND TRICIA DAUTERIVE Upon the Petition of CHRISTOPHER DAUTERIVE, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning TRICIA DAUTERIVE, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M.
former wife appeals a district court order on cross requests
to modify the custody and support aspects of a dissolution
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, PC,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
Alexandra M. Nelissen of Taylor Law Offices, PC, Des Moines,
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Dauterive and her former husband, Christopher Dauterive, have
joint legal custody and joint physical care of their now
sixteen-year-old daughter, L.D. Tricia appeals the district
court's continuation of the shared-care arrangement. She
also contends the district court wrongly ordered her to pay
all of L.D.'s orthodontia expenses and miscalculated
child support and the parties' respective shares of
unreimbursed medical expenses. Finally, she contests the
award of trial attorney fees.
Tricia did not show ending the shared-care arrangement would
be in L.D.'s best interests, we affirm that provision of
the modification ruling. But we reverse the order holding
Tricia solely responsible for L.D.'s orthodontia, reverse
the award of trial attorney fees, and remand for
recalculation of child support and the parties'
obligations for unreimbursed medical expenses.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
and Christopher divorced in March 2014. The decree awarded
them alternating weeks of "shared parenting time"
with their three children, who were all under eighteen years
of age at that time. In April 2014, the district court
approved the parties' stipulation agreeing Tricia would
provide health insurance and the parties would spilt
uncovered medical expenses based on their respective incomes
with Tricia paying twenty-seven percent and Christopher
paying seventy-three percent.
year later, in April 2015, Tricia moved to modify the
physical-care and child-support provisions of the decree.
Tricia also applied for a custody evaluation, which the court
granted. The modification action did not receive a
hearing in the district court for more than two years. In the
interim, the parties filed numerous contempt actions against
one another, clashing over custody, support, and medical
expenses for the children. Among the contentious issues was
orthodontia for L.D., the youngest child.
time of the modification hearing in August 2017, Christopher
was also asking to modify the custody provisions of the
decree. Of the parties' children, only L.D. was still a
minor. In his testimony, Christopher asked for sole legal
custody of L.D. because co-parenting decisions were
"almost impossible to reach." By contrast, Tricia
sought physical care of L.D. rather than sole legal custody.
February 2018 modification order, the district court
ultimately determined the question was one of legal custody
rather than physical care. The court was "firmly
convinced that [Tricia's] recalcitrance has rendered the
current joint legal custody arrangement unworkable." The
modification order maintained joint legal custody subject to
certain conditions, including a more structured system for
joint decision-making on medical treatment. On this front,
the district court explained, "Determination[s]
regarding 'necessary medical treatment' shall be
decided by: (1) the medical provider; (2) written consent of
the parties; (3) [an appointed parenting coordinator]; and
(4) the Court." The court did not address physical care
in its analysis, but did deny Tricia's petition to modify
the joint physical care arrangement.
2018, the district court ordered Tricia to pay $10, 000
toward Christopher's trial attorney fees. Our supreme
court granted Tricia's request to consolidate her appeals
of the modification ruling and the attorney-fee order.
Scope and Standards of Review
review rulings on motions to modify dissolution decrees de
novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; In re Marriage of
Beecher, 582 N.W.2d 510, 512 (Iowa 1998). "We
examine the entire record and adjudicate anew rights on the
issues properly presented." Beecher, 582 N.W.2d
at 512-13. "We give weight to the fact findings of the
trial court, especially when considering the credibility of
witnesses, but are not bound by them." Id. at
interpretation of child support guidelines is a legal
question, our review of such interpretation is for errors at
law." In re Marriage of McCurnin, 681 N.W.2d
322, 327 (Iowa 2004).
question of attorney fees, we review the district court's
award for an abuse of discretion. In re Marriage of
Maher, 596 N.W.2d 561, 568 (Iowa 1999).