from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Patrick A.
father appeals the district court's custody, visitation,
and support order.
B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
David Zimmerman of J. David Zimmerman, P.C., Clinton, for
Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Mahan, S.J.
Hester is the father and Amanda Davis is the mother of K.D.,
born in July 2015. In September 2018, following a contested
hearing, the district court entered its ruling on custody,
visitation, and support granting the parents joint legal
custody of their child. The court determined Amanda would
have physical care of the child, and Kyle would have
visitation on every other weekend, along with scheduled
holiday and summer visits. The court ordered that Amanda
could claim the child for tax purposes until she was no
longer eligible to do so.
appeals the order, arguing the court should have placed the
child in his physical care. In the event that this court
affirms the physical-placement determination, Kyle asserts
the district court should have granted him expanded and
liberal visitation with the child and applied the relevant
economic considerations related to extra visits. See,
e.g., Iowa Ct. R. 9.9 (providing for the application of
an extraordinary visitation credit to the noncustodial
parent's child support obligation if that parent's
ordered visits exceed 127 days per year).
review is de novo. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.907;
Markey v. Carney, 705 N.W.2d 13, 19 (Iowa 2005).
However, we recognize that the district court was able to
listen to and observe the parties and witnesses. See In
re Marriage of Zebecki, 389 N.W.2d 396, 398 (Iowa 1986).
Consequently, we give weight to the factual findings of the
district court, especially when considering the credibility
of witnesses, but are not bound by them. See Iowa R.
App. P. 6.904(3)(g). Importantly, our overriding
consideration is the best interests of the child.
See Iowa R. App. P. 6.904(3)(o); In re Marriage
of Hansen, 733 N.W.2d 683, 695 (Iowa 2007).
facts of the case are essentially undisputed, and we adopt
the facts found by the district court:
Amanda and Kyle had a very short relationship which resulted
in the birth of their minor child . . . . During the
pregnancy Kyle and Amanda were not on good terms, to the
point where Amanda concealed the fact that she was still
pregnant to Kyle. When [the child] was born, Kyle was unaware
he had a daughter. In July 2016, Amanda learned Kyle was
doing better in his personal life and decided to introduce
him to their daughter. For a period of about ten days Kyle
had regular visits with his daughter. . . [and tried to] make
a family unit with Amanda. This fell apart at [the
child's] first birthday party when Kyle used marijuana.
At that point Amanda prevented Kyle from having visits with
[the child], and Kyle did not see his daughter for a period
of almost two years.
Kyle has made significant strides in the last couple of
years. He was charged with a drug offense in January 2016 and
subsequently pled guilty to a lesser-included offense several
months later. Kyle has undergone drug treatment and remained
appeal, Kyle maintains the court failed to weigh Amanda's
dishonesty regarding the pregnancy and her subsequent
separation of the child from Kyle after he learned he was the
child's father in its custody determination, and he
asserts Amanda's actions show placement of the child in
his physical care is in the child's best interests. We
the district court was generous in its description of
Kyle's conduct during "the last couple of
years" when Kyle made "significant strides"
after being "charged with a drug offense." Kyle
was, in fact, charged with three criminal counts-one for
possession of a controlled substance with the intent to
deliver, namely marijuana, and two counts for unlawful
possession of a prescription drug. Kyle pled guilty to the
two counts of possession of a prescription drug and to the
lesser offense of possession of marijuana. This does not
include the prior "relatively serious" incident for
which Kyle was on probation when he picked up the three drug
charges. Additionally, Amanda testified she had
been frightened by Kyle's actions during her pregnancy.
In January 2015, she reported to the police that Kyle had
been harassing her. Then, after she thought Kyle had
"cleaned up his act," Amanda contacted Kyle about
their child. He ...