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In re Marriage of Moeller

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 20, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF GALYN JOHN MOELLER AND TAMRA LEIGH MOELLER Upon the Petition of GALYN JOHN MOELLER, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning TAMRA LEIGH MOELLER, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.

         A wife appeals the economic provisions in the parties' dissolution decree. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.

          Gina C. Badding of Neu, Minnich, Comito, Halbur, Neu & Badding, PC, Carroll, for appellant.

          Maura Sailer of Reimer, Lohman, Reitz, Sailer & Ullrich, Denison, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, Judge.

         Tamra Moeller appeals the economic provisions in the parties' dissolution decree. We find the parties' premarital agreement is not enforceable because Galyn Moeller did not provide accurate information on his financial disclosure form. The district court made alternative findings concerning the division of the parties' property if the premarital agreement was found to be unenforceable, and we find this division is equitable. We also affirm the court's decision not to award spousal support to Tamra and to order Galyn to pay part of her trial attorney fees. We do not award any appellate attorney fees. We affirm the decision of the district court, although we modify it to find the parties' premarital agreement is not enforceable.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Galyn and Tamra met when they were both employed by The Maschhoffs, a pork production company. In March 2012, Galyn purchased a hog barn. Tamra moved to Denison to live with Galyn in August 2012. Galyn purchased a second hog barn in December 2012. He operates the hog business under the name Moeller Farms, LLC. In addition, Galyn has a one-half interest in M & W Freedom Farms, LLC, which leases a property to raise hogs. Tamra periodically helped Galyn load hogs and perform other chores both before and after the marriage.

         Galyn and Tamra got engaged in February 2013 and set a wedding date for January 24, 2014. At the time of the marriage, Galyn was fifty-one years old and Tamra was twenty-six. It was Galyn's third marriage and Tamra's first. Galyn expressed an interest in having a premarital agreement. On December 11, 2013, Galyn and Tamra met with Galyn's attorney, Reed Reitz, to provide him with financial information. They went back to Reitz's office on January 13, 2014, to sign the premarital agreement.

         The premarital agreement provides the parties would not have an interest in the property the other spouse brought to the marriage, including increases in value. Also, "Galyn and [Tamra] shall each pay one-half of the living expenses of the household." The agreement stated upon dissolution of marriage, "neither party shall seek support, alimony, or attorney fees from the other." An attached financial statement showed Galyn had assets worth $1, 445, 000 and debts of $1, 220, 000, giving him net worth of $225, 000. The statement showed he had income of $276, 000 per year from Moeller Hogs and $60, 000 from The Maschhoffs. The statement showed Tamra had total assets of $13, 000 and debts of $14, 000, for a net worth of -$1000. She had income of $41, 000 per year.

         After the parties married, they opened a joint bank account and each would deposit their income from The Maschhoffs into the account, which was used to pay their living expenses. About two months after the premarital agreement was signed, on March 13, 2014, Galyn submitted a financial statement to a bank showing his net worth was $531, 598.

         On September 1, 2016, Galyn quit his job at The Maschhoffs and began working full time in his hog production business. After this, he no longer regularly put money into the parties' joint checking account but only put money into the account when necessary. Tamra's wages were used to pay for the family's day-to-day expenses and Galyn's income was used to pay down the debt on his hog business. During the marriage, the equity in the farms increased by $449, 295.

         On January 18, 2017, Galyn filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The parties separated in February 2017. In August 2017, Tamra quit her job at The Maschhoffs and moved to Des Moines. She is now employed as an animal control ...


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