IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF KRISTEN GRCHAN AND MICHAEL GRCHAN Upon the Petition of KRISTEN GRCHAN, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning MICHAEL GRCHAN, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, John D.
Grchan appeals from the decree dissolving her marriage to
Michael Grchan. AFFIRMED.
JohnPatrick Brown III of Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham,
LLC, Rock Island, Illinois, for appellant.
M. Carlson of Gomez May, LLP, Davenport, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE
and Kristen Grchan married in 2011 and divorced in 2018. The
district court granted the parents joint physical care of
their two children, born in 2013 and 2016. On appeal, Kristen
contends the court should have granted her physical care.
consideration of joint physical care . . . must . . . be
based on Iowa's traditional and statutorily required
child custody standard-the best interest of the child."
In re Marriage of Hansen, 733 N.W.2d 683, 695 (Iowa
2007) (citing Iowa Code § 598.41 (5)(a) [(2018)]).
"[T]he factors listed [in section 598.41(3)] as well as
other facts and circumstances are relevant in determining
whether joint physical care is in the best interest of the
child." Id. at 696.
district court observed,
The evidence in this case demonstrated clearly that both
parties are very good parents who deeply love their
children and provide excellent care. Neither put forth
convincing evidence that their parenting skills are better
. . . . Each party had rather mild and insignificant
criticisms of the other, and that is to their credit.
verbal findings following trial, the court found "both
parties [were] heavily involved in providing for the primary
care of the children"; "the evidence indicate[d]
strongly that they communicate and show mutual respect";
and they exchanged all the information they needed to
"to successfully co-parent." The court stated,
"There was absolutely [no] history that either parent
has run down, criticized the other, [or] insulted the
other" and "the degree of conflict between the
parties [was] minimal." In particular, the court said
there was "absolutely no disagreement about food,
shelter, education, moral issues or discipline" and no
"evidence whatsoever that" the parents disagreed
"as to their general approach to daily matters."
Indeed, the court noted, the parents "continued to live
together" after the dissolution petition was filed and
"even went on vacation together as a family after the
divorce was on file." The record fully supports the
district court's findings.
to Kristen's assertion that she, rather than Michael,
"perform[ed] the vast majority of the parenting
tasks," her sister testified "they both
contributed" and they "kept co-parenting"
while the dissolution action was pending. Kristen's
father similarly stated "they were both involved,"
with Michael "giving the kids baths" and
"cook[ing] supper." Notably, both parents worked
for the same employer and both testified to having flexible
schedules that allowed for active parenting.
assertion that she would "provide a more structured
and stable environment" is equally unpersuasive. After
living with Kristen for a period of time following her filing
of the dissolution petition, Michael moved to his
mother's condominium. Later, he rented an Illinois
apartment that Kristen conceded was just a fifteen to twenty
minute drive away from her Bettendorf apartment. Despite the
proximity, Michael expressed a willingness to move even
closer. With the older child slated to begin kindergarten, he
voiced no objection to having the child attend a Bettendorf,
Iowa school as Kristen requested. He stated, "[I]t
doesn't matter where she goes to school just as long as
we're there for her." He insisted he "just
want[s] what's best for [his] kids."
does the record establish that Michael was unable to manage
"both [girls] together," as Kristen contends. Both
parents candidly admitted parenting the young children could
be overwhelming at times. At the same time, Kristen conceded
Michael cared for the children without incident while she was
on vacation for ...