IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF CHRISTOPHER C. VESEY AND KELLY ANN VESEY Upon the Petition of CHRISTOPHER C. VESEY, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning KELLY ANN VESEY, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Terry R.
father appeals the district court's modification of the
physical-care arrangement for his two children.
A. Shutts and Tyler L. Coe of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C.,
Des Moines, for appellant.
Christopher B. Coppola and Megan Flynn of Coppola,
McConville, Carroll, Hockenberg & Flynn, P.C., West Des
Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
and Kelly Vesey stipulated to joint physical care for their
two sons; the district court approved that stipulation in
their divorce decree. As she contemplated moving to a
community nearly one-hundred miles away, Kelly sought to
modify the custody arrangement. The district court granted
her motion to modify, "contingent upon" her
"actually moving" within ninety days of the order.
On appeal, Chris contends the court wrongly decided
Kelly's prospective move was cause for modification.
Because Kelly proved her move would be a substantial change
in circumstances justifying a switch from shared care to
designating her as the primary caregiver, we affirm the
Facts and Prior Proceedings
and Kelly were married in 2005 and divorced in 2015. Chris is
a detective with the West Des Moines Police Department. Kelly
works for Wells Fargo as a business systems consultant. They
have two sons, G.C.V. and L.J.V. At the time of the divorce,
the district court granted the parents joint legal custody,
as well as joint physical care of both boys. The decree
adopted the parents' stipulation to a "fifty-fifty
G.C.V. and eight-year-old L.J.V. continue to attend school in
the Waukee district where Kelly currently resides. Chris
lives in West Des Moines. To accommodate the children's
schedules, Chris drops them off at Kelly's house each
morning after they stay with him so they can catch a bus to
school. Additionally, Chris's police work occasionally
requires him to be on-call. During those times, the children
stay at Kelly's house regardless of whose parenting time
it would regularly be. Over time, these adjustments led to
the children spending more of their time in Kelly's care
than with Chris.
August 2017, Kelly petitioned for modification of the decree,
claiming material and substantial changes warranted altering
the physical care arrangement. Kelly argued four points:
(1) Chris was not following the agreed-upon parenting
(2) Communication had broken down ...