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Blasco v. Webb

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

RAYMOND BLASCO, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
NICHOLE MARIE WEBB, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Thomas A. Bitter, Judge.

         A mother appeals from a decree of paternity, custody, visitation, and support.

          Robert J. Murphy, Dubuque, for appellant.

          Jessica L. McNamara of Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., Dubuque, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals from the district court's decree of paternity, custody, visitation, and support. She asserts she should have been granted physical care of the parties' child. We affirm.

         Raymond Blasco and Nichole Webb are the parents of A.J.B., born in 2012. The parents never married but lived together for about a year. While they were together, Raymond's work schedule consisted of one week off for every two weeks of work. Nichole did not work and Raymond financially supported the family. Raymond continued to support Nichole and A.J.B. after the parties separated: Nichole used his vehicle and Raymond paid her rent and A.J.B.'s expenses. Nichole also had access to Raymond's checkbook. Raymond saw A.J.B. when he was not working.

         Raymond suffered heart failure in 2014 and was on disability from 2014 to 2017. In 2014 and 2015, Raymond compiled a number of alcohol-related offenses and was jailed for about ten months, completing his sentence in August 2016.[1] He asserts he no longer drinks alcohol and has not since 2015.

         In 2016, Nichole had a child with Sean Oliver.[2] In November 2016, Oliver threatened to kill Nichole while chasing her with knives; Oliver's child and A.J.B. were present at the time. She obtained a protective order against Oliver but asked that it be dropped two weeks later. She later sought a second protective order against Oliver. Nichole did not inform Raymond of the domestic violence or the protective orders-he learned of the incident when the department of human services contacted him.

         On January 11, 2017, Raymond filed a petition seeking physical care of A.J.B. On April 11, the court entered a temporary custody order granting the parties joint physical care. The court ordered A.J.B. was not to be in Oliver's presence unsupervised. Trial was scheduled for December 20, 2017. However, Nichole's attorney was allowed to withdraw on October 13. New counsel filed an appearance on October 25, 2017. At Nichole's request, trial was reset for August 28, 2018. Nichole again sought to continue trial on August 23, 2018. Raymond resisted and the court denied the motion.

         Trial was held on August 28, 2018. At the time of trial, Raymond was thirty-one years old. Raymond married Angela on March 29, 2017. They reside with their eleven-month-old son in Kieler, Wisconsin. Raymond works full-time at Newt Marine in Dubuque, Iowa, as a deck hand and makes $57, 000 a year. For five to six months each year, his work schedule is seven days on and seven days off and while working he resides in a camper about four hours away from home. The other six months of the year, he resides full time in Kieler and works in Dubuque with a 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. schedule.

         Nichole lives with two of her four children[3] and her sister, who moved into the home Nichole rents in Holy Cross, Iowa. Nichole is not in school and does not have a job. She has a certified nursing assistant certification. The last job Nichole held was at ABC Learning, where she worked for eight months before she quit in March 2017. Before that, Nichole worked at a Dubuque hotel for three months and W.S. Live for a "little over two months." At the time of trial, Nichole was engaged to Martin Jaeger, whom she has been dating since June 2017. Martin lives in Dubuque with his mother, where he has lived off and on for ten years, and has worked at Dubuque Stamp for three months. Nichole testified she expected Martin to move in with her and the children at some point in the future.

         A.J.B. is very active and, perhaps, hyperactive. He exhibits behavioral control problems, has an individual education plan at school, has been seeing a counselor for about two years, and receives behavior health intervention services in the parents' homes. Changes in routine and ...


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