IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JYOTHSNA LATHA MADHAMANCHI AND MADHU BABU DANDAMUDI Upon the Petition of JYOTHSNA LATHA MADHAMANCHI, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning MADHU BABU DANDAMUDI, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Marlita A.
appellant appeals from the child custody, spousal support,
and attorney fee provisions of the decree dissolving her
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
Dane and Ryan M. Beckenbaugh of H.J. Dane Law Office,
Davenport, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson,
Madhamanchi (Jo) appeals from the child custody, spousal
support, and attorney fee provisions of the January 29, 2018
decree dissolving her marriage to Madhu Dandamudi. She
asserts the district court should have placed their child in
her physical care or it should have ordered additional
visitation, communication, and transportation for the child.
She also requests increased spousal support, trial attorney
fees, and appellate attorney fees. Placing weight on the
district court's findings of credibility, we affirm the
decree and decline to award appellate attorney fees.
and Madhu were born in 1979 and 1976 respectively. On June
19, 2010, they were married in India but soon moved to the
United States. The parties' child, A.D., was born in the
United States in June 2015. Madhu has a bachelor's degree
in computer science and engineering. At the time of trial, he
worked as a software engineer in Urbandale earning about
$104, 000 per year. Jo testified she has a bachelor's
degree in zoology but has not held a job in the last twenty
December 30, 2016, Jo filed a petition for separate
maintenance. On January 27, 2017, Madhu filed an answer and
counter petition for dissolution of marriage. After a
contentious series of motions requesting sanctions or other
orders, trial on the dissolution was held November 7, 2017,
and January 4, 2018. On January 29, the court issued the
dissolution decree, which (1) divided the parties' assets
and liabilities, (2) ordered joint legal custody of A.D., (3)
placed physical care of A.D. with Madhu and ordered
visitation with Jo, (4) declined to award child support, (5)
ordered Madhu to pay spousal support, (6) declined to award
attorney fees and ordered Jo to pay costs, and (7) imposed
sanctions on Jo. Both parties filed post-trial motions to
amend or enlarge, and the court issued its ruling on the
motions on March 25. Jo now appeals.
review claimed error in dissolution-of-marriage decrees de
novo. Although we decide the issues raised on appeal anew, we
give weight to the trial court's factual findings,
especially with respect to the credibility of the
witnesses." In re Marriage of Witten, 672
N.W.2d 768, 773 (Iowa 2003).
the district court made a strong credibility finding:
The court had a difficult time believing quite a bit Jo's
testimony. This was especially evident during the testimony
related to the Motion for Sanctions. Jo admitted she lied to
the court on several occasions related to whether she had a
Visa allowing her to be in or return to the United States.
Further, Jo's claims of abuse, as well as her claims of
needing to be bedridden for four months after the child's
birth due to a Caesarian section delivery are just a few
examples of the difficulty in believing Jo's testimony.
The court finds Madhu's testimony was much more
believable, much more reasonable, and made more sense.
weight to this determination of credibility. See id.
Jo challenges the placement of physical care of A.D. with
Madhu. "When considering the issue of physical care, the
child's best interest is the overriding
consideration." In re Marriage of Fennelly, 737
N.W.2d 97, 101 (Iowa 2007). In ...