IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF AMY A. WIDDISON AND HAROLD K. WIDDISON Upon the Petition of AMY A. WIDDISON, n/k/a AMY A. DENDY, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning HAROLD K. WIDDISON, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, James S.
Widdison appeals various district court orders in the ongoing
litigation following the dissolution of his marriage to Amy
Widdison (now Amy Dendy).
K. Widdison, Sioux City, self-represented appellant.
Van Wyhe of Van Wyhe Law Firm & Mediation Center, PLC,
Sioux City, for appellee.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Richard D. Arnold and Gary
J. Otting, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee CSRU.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
appeal follows Harold Widdison's previous appeal of a
modification order. See In re Marriage of Widdison,
No. 17-2034, 2018 WL 4361004 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 12, 2018).
The modification order increased Harold's child support
obligation and made the increase retroactive-creating an
instant arrearage. Harold appealed. While the appeal was
pending, the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) seized
funds from Harold's retirement account to collect the
arrearage. Later, we reversed the district court's order
increasing the amount of Harold's child support
obligation because Amy Widdison (now Amy Dendy) never
requested an increase. Id. at *4. After our ruling,
Harold applied for return of the seized funds and sought
compensation for $1136.39 in adverse tax consequences and
$778.35 in early-withdrawal fees resulting from the
CSRU's levy on his retirement account. The district court
credited Harold for the overpayments that the CSRU disbursed
to Amy and applied this credit to his ongoing child support
payments. Harold moved to amend the ruling to expand his
child support credit by the amount of the taxes and penalties
he incurred as a result of the CSRU's levy. The district
court denied the motion in an order that addressed several
"pending motions" in the ongoing litigation between
Amy and Harold. In the same order, the court granted Amy
attorney fees associated with contempt proceedings and denied
Harold's motion for sanctions against Amy and her
attorney. It is from this order that Harold now appeals.
appellate brief, Harold states he "preserved error by
timely filing a Notice of Appeal." We have stated time
and time again, the filing of a notice of appeal does not
preserve error for our review. See Thomas A. Mayes
& Anuradha Vaitheswaran, Error Preservation in Civil
Appeals in Iowa: Perspectives on Present Practice, 55
Drake L. Rev. 39, 48 (Fall 2006) ("However error is
preserved, it is not preserved by filing a notice of appeal.
While this is a common statement in briefs, it is erroneous,
for the notice of appeal has nothing to do with error
appeal, Harold contends he is entitled to either
reimbursement or credit against his future child support
obligation for the taxes and penalties assessed when the CSRU
seized funds from his retirement account. We typically review
actions about support orders de novo. See In re Marriage
of Carr, 591 N.W.2d 627, 628 (Iowa 1999). But when an
appeal involves undisputed facts and statutory
interpretation, our review is for correction of errors at
law. See id.
Code chapter 252I (2018) authorizes the CSRU to seize
financial accounts to collect delinquent support payments.
See Iowa Code § 252I.6(1). The chapter also
outlines the mechanism to challenge the seizure of those
accounts- first by submitting the challenge to the CSRU and,
if the challenge does not succeed, in a hearing before the
district court. See generally id. §
252I.8(1)-(5). If, during this process, the CSRU returns the
funds to the financial account because of a mistake of fact
or error of the court, it must reimburse any additional fees
or costs levied against the account. See Iowa Code
record does not show that Harold followed the procedure
outlined in section 252I.8 to challenge the seizure of funds
from his retirement account. Instead, Harold applied to stay
enforcement of the increased child support obligation after
appealing the modification order, but both the district court
and Iowa Supreme Court denied his request. After receiving
the CSRU's notice that it was seizing funds from his
retirement account, Harold moved to quash the levy rather
than following the statutory procedure to challenge it. The
district court denied the motion. Because Harold failed to
follow the statutory procedure to challenge the levy, he
cannot avail himself to the remedy outlined in section
denying Harold's motion to amend and enlarge, the
district court determined:
For purposes of clarification, this Court considered the
issue of taxes and penalties submitted by [Harold] due [to]
the involuntary seizure of funds from [his] retirement
account. It is not unusual in litigation that the parties
incur collateral costs and expenses. The increase in
[Harold]'s support obligation, which was later reversed
on appeal, was the result of an error by the district court,
not [Amy]. This court, in considering his arguments ...