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In re Marriage of Lyon

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 21, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF LORI ANN LYON AND STEVEN JAMES LYON Upon the Petition of LORI ANN LYON, n/k/a LORI ANN HARDMAN, Petitioner-Appellee, And Concerning STEVEN JAMES LYON, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hardin County, James A. McGlynn, Judge.

         The father appeals from the court's modification of the parties' dissolution decree, arguing the court should have changed the parenting time schedule to give him even more time with the parties' daughter. AFFIRMED.

          Dorothy L. Dakin of Kruse & Dakin, L.L.P., Boone, for appellant. \

          Larry W. Johnson of Walters & Johnson, Iowa Falls, for appellee.

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

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Steven Lyon appeals from the district court's modification of his and Lori Lyon's[1] previously modified dissolution decree. He asks us to affirm the district court's change of the holiday schedule but otherwise argues the court should have changed the parenting-time schedule to give him even more time with the parties' child, C.L. In response, Lori asks that we affirm the district court's modification and award her $2500 in appellate attorney fees.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Steven and Lori dissolved their marriage by stipulated decree in 2011. The decree provided they would share legal custody of C.L., who was born in 2008, and Lori would have physical care of C.L.

         Then, in 2013, the parties modified their decree by stipulation. By agreement, Steven received two weeks parenting time with C.L. in the summer- one week each in June and July. Additionally, his weekend time with C.L. was extended from alternating weekends lasting Friday evening through Sunday evening to alternating weekends lasting Thursday evening through Sunday evening.

         Steven filed a petition for a second modification-the one at issue now-in December 2017. He asked for a change in the holiday schedule, two additional weeks with C.L. during her summer vacation from school, extending his weekend time to include Sunday overnights, and overnights every Thursday-not just on the weeks he has weekend time with C.L.[2] Lori resisted the modification.

         The matter was tried to the district court in September 2018. At the time, both Steven and Lori had remarried and had two additional children and one additional child, respectively. According to Steven's testimony, their homes were twenty-three miles apart. Steven lived outside of the school district C.L. attended, but he drove her to school and activities when she had overnights with him and it had never been a problem. The middle school C.L. is expected to attend is in a separate town-one further away from Steven's home, which he estimated is approximately a thirty to thirty-five minute drive. C.L. is involved in several activities and enjoys the time she spends in both Steven's and Lori's homes.

         Steven maintained there had been a change in circumstances surrounding his health. He testified that shortly after the parties began dissolution proceedings, in 2011, he broke his femur and learned he had bone cancer. In September 2011 he had surgery to replace his femur and, in May 2012, a second surgery to replace his knee, part of his femur, and part of his tibia. The stipulated modification was entered in July 2013, during which Steve was still undergoing physical therapy and attending regular doctor appointments. He was declared cancer free in October 2016. Steven testified about his increased mobility and his improved outlook regarding his chances of survival.

         The district court modified the parenting schedule for holidays but otherwise denied Steven's request ...


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