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In re Marriage of Oswalt-Weiler

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF SHERRI J. OSWALT-WEILER AND MATTHEW S. WEILER Upon the Petition of SHERRI J. OSWALT-WEILER, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning MATTHEW S. WEILER, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart Werling, Judge.

         The appellant appeals the district court's modification of the visitation provisions of a dissolution decree. AFFIRMED.

          Eric D. Puryear and Eric S. Mail of Puryear Law P.C., Davenport, for appellant.

          Jennifer M. Olsen of Olsen Law Firm, Davenport, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         Matthew Weiler (Matt) appeals the district court's modification of the visitation provisions of a dissolution decree. Following our de novo review, we affirm.

         Matt and Sherri Oswalt-Weiler (Sherri) married in 2009. They have two children.

         Allegations of abuse surfaced. Sherri filed for divorce. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved.

         In 2014, the district court entered a decree of dissolution. The court awarded physical care to Sherri. The court awarded Matt "a one-hour supervised visitation weekly." The court also awarded Matt four-hour visitation periods on certain holidays. The court ordered these visits to be supervised "by a mutually agreed upon individual from Matt['s] family."

         In 2017, Matt commenced this modification action. He asked the court "to expand his visitation to allow him unsupervised, overnight visitation." He also complained that Sherri failed to keep him informed about the children's school activities.

         For her part, Sherri asked the court to require "that a professional supervise all future visitation." She also asked for a modification of child support and an award of attorney fees.

         Following trial, the district court ordered "all of [Matt's] visits with his children [to] be supervised by an independent professional." The court also ordered Sherri to create a Google calendar and use it to advise Matt of "any school supervised event in which either child is engaged." The court also adjusted child support in Sherri's favor. Finally, the court ordered Matt to pay court costs as well as $5000 toward Sherri's attorney fees. Matt appeals.

         Matt argues the district court improperly reduced his visitation by requiring professional supervision for all visitation. He claims his petition only requested an increase in visitation time; therefore, the district court was precluded from restricting his visitation. We disagree. In its prayer, Matt's modification petition asked the district court to "modify[] his visitation with the children." This boundless language invited the district court to enter any appropriate order concerning visitation. See In re Marriage of Seward, No. 18-1690, 2019 WL 1934002, at *2-3 (Iowa Ct. App. May 1, 2019) (concluding the petitioner had "fair notice the visitation provision was ...


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