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In re Marriage of Verdoorn

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 1, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF SHELLY VERDOORN AND TROY VERDOORN Upon the Petition of SHELLY VERDOORN, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning TROY VERDOORN, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge.

         Petitioner appeals the property division in the parties' dissolution decree.

          John S. Moeller of John S. Moeller, PC, Sioux City, for appellant.

          Brien Patrick O'Brien of O'Brien Law Office, Sioux City, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Shelly Verdoorn appeals the property division in the parties' dissolution decree. We determine the amount of $93, 200.00, representing her interest in a home she owned prior to the marriage, should be set aside to Shelly as her premarital property. We modify the decree to decrease the property settlement payable from Shelly to Troy Verdoorn. We affirm the dissolution decree as modified.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Shelly purchased a home on Glenn Avenue in Sioux City in 1994. She has been residing there ever since. In 2007, Shelly inherited a one-half interest in a home on 25th Street and some money. The house was appraised for $30, 000.00. In 2009, she paid the other one-half owner $15, 000.00 with the money she inherited to become the sole owner of the 25th Street house. Shelly rented out the home and kept the proceeds in a separate bank account.

         Troy moved into Shelly's home on Glenn Avenue in February 2008. They were married on November 7, 2009. According to Shelly, Troy did very little work improving the Glenn Avenue or 25th Street houses. She stated she paid for all of the materials and paid Troy for some of his labor. Troy stated he did quite a bit of work on both houses, paying for most of the materials and providing free labor. The parties agreed Troy put up a shed and fencing for a dog-breeding business in the backyard of the Glenn Avenue home. Shelly sold the 25th Street house in 2016 for $75, 000.00 and kept the money in a separate account. She stated she spent about $41, 000.00 of that amount on household expenses.

         The parties separated in July 2017, and Shelly filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on July 23, 2017. At the time of the dissolution trial on March 21, 2018, Shelly was fifty-three years old and Troy was fifty-four. Shelly was employed as a utility clerk and earned about $42, 000.00 per year. Troy had seasonal employment with Custom Cut Gutters, where he earned $18.00 per hour, plus he earned about $20, 000.00 to $30, 000.00 each year from his handyman and dog-breeding businesses. The parties stipulated the value of the Glenn Avenue home was $148, 000.00 and the premarital value was $93, 200.00.

         In the dissolution decree, filed on May 30, 2018, the district court set aside to Shelly the bank account holding the remaining sale proceeds from the 25th Street house. The court found all other assets were marital assets. The court awarded Shelly net assets worth $143, 081.50 and Troy net assets worth $25, 800.00. The court ordered Shelly to pay Troy a property settlement of $58, 640.75, resulting in each party receiving $84, 440.75. No alimony or attorney fees were awarded. Shelly appeals the property division in the dissolution decree.

         II. Standard of Review

         Our review in dissolution cases is de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; In re Marriage of Fennelly, 737 N.W.2d 97, 100 (Iowa 2007). "[W]e examine the entire record and decide anew the issues properly presented." In re Marriage of Rhinehart, 704 N.W.2d 677, 680 (Iowa 2005). We give weight to the factual findings of the district court ...


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