from the Iowa District Court for Clay County, Don E.
Brechler appeals from the district court's summary
judgment rulings overruling her motion and sustaining the
motion of Angela Chapman and Kristine Ford, her deceased
R. Postolka and Stephen F. Avery of Cornwall, Avery,
Bjornstad & Scott, Spencer, for appellant.
Michael R. Bovee and Jill M. Davis of Montgomery, Barry,
Bovee, Steffen & Davis, LLP, Spencer, for appellees.
by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
Brechler owned an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
Pursuant to a 2003 decree of dissolution from his wife Donna,
he designated his daughters Angela Chapman and Kristine Ford
as primary beneficiaries of the IRA. Carl married Barbara in
2004. In 2011, he transferred 54% of the IRA to a new IRA. He
designated his daughters as primary beneficiaries of the new
IRA and changed the primary beneficiary designation of the
original IRA from his daughters to his wife Barbara.
daughters filed a petition for declaratory judgment against
Barbara seeking to invalidate and set aside Carl's
designation of Barbara as the primary beneficiary of the
original IRA. Following a hearing on dueling motions for
summary judgment, the district court sustained Carl's
daughters' motion and overruled Barbara's motion,
finding the 2003 dissolution decree obligated Carl, by way of
his and Donna's voluntary stipulation, to irrevocably
designate his daughters as equal beneficiaries of the IRA in
question. Barbara appeals that ruling, arguing Carl was
permitted to make withdrawals under the stipulation, which
was essentially what he did, and Carl's daughters were
only to inherit the balance of Carl's retirement account
on the date of his death, which they did. Alternatively,
Barbara argues Carl's post-dissolution contributions to
his retirement account are her and Carl's marital
property, and Carl's transfer of funds to a new IRA
account for his daughters honored the provisions of his
divorce stipulation. Upon our review, we affirm the district
court's summary judgment rulings.
Standard of Review.
motion for summary judgment is appropriately granted when
'there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and .
. . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.'" Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids, 922
N.W.2d 524, 542 (Iowa 2019) (quoting Iowa R. Civ. P.
1.981(3)). Our review of a court's summary judgment
ruling is for correction of errors at law. See Morris v.
Steffes Group, Inc., 924 N.W.2d 491, 496 (Iowa 2019).
Background Facts and Proceedings.
underlying facts are undisputed. In December 2003, the
district court entered a decree dissolving the marriage of
Donna and Carl Brechler. The decree accepted and adopted
Donna and Carl's stipulation and property settlement,
containing the following provision:
Carl is a participant in a 401(K) Plan sponsored by his
employer, . . . which plan had a balance of $124, 164.59 as
of June 5, 2003 (hereinafter "Carl's 401(K)
. . . Carl shall cause the Administrator of Carl's 401(K)
Plan to assign to an [IRA] established by Donna (hereinafter
"Donna's Rollover IRA"), an amount equal to
one-half (1/2) of the balance held in Carl's 401(K) Plan
. . . .
Carl and Donna agree that following the assignment of
one-half (1/2) of the balance of Carl's 401(K) Plan to
Donna's Rollover IRA, that Carl shall receive the
remaining balance held in Carl's 401(K) Plan.
Carl agrees that he will irrevocably designate [his and
Donna's adult children, Angela Chapman and Kristine Ford,
equal beneficiaries of Carl's 401(K) Plan in the event of
provisions of the stipulation adopted by the district court
declared that Carl and Donna knew the stipulation's terms
and conditions, executed the stipulation freely and
voluntarily, and would execute any additional documents