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In re Marriage of Saluri

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JAMES TIMOTHY SALURI AND SANDRA SUE SALURI Upon the Petition of JAMES TIMOTHY SALURI, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning SANDRA SUE SALURI, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.

         Petitioner appeals the district court order setting a postsecondary education subsidy for the parties' children.

          Mark Simons of Simons Law Firm, PLC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Andrew B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellee.

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

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         James Saluri appeals the district court's ruling on a postsecondary education subsidy. We find the district court correctly found good cause for the subsidy and properly applied the statutory three-step process to calculate James's share of the subsidy. The court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Sandra Saluri attorney fees. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         James and Sandra were previously married. They are the parents of N.S., born in 1997, and T.S., born in 1999. The parties' dissolution decree, filed on February 1, 2013, did not include a postsecondary education subsidy but did reserve the court's jurisdiction to determine the appropriate contribution from each party.

         On July 19, 2018, Sandra filed a motion to establish the parties' postsecondary subsidy for both children. N.S. was a rising senior at Iowa State University[1] and T.S. was going to be a freshman at the University of Iowa.

         On August 29, the court held a hearing at which both parents testified. James testified he thought the children should pay for their own schooling. He testified his current wife had a full-time job and paid her own child support obligations and divorce expenses and their joint cell phone bill. James testified he was responsible for all other regular household expenses, which took up nearly his entire monthly income. James did not offer any support for his claimed expenses. The court ordered James and Sandra each contribute $5027.00 toward N.S.'s expenses for the 2018-2019 school year. The court ordered each to contribute $6623.25 toward T.S.'s 2018-2019 postsecondary education expenses. The contributions were to be made directly to either the schools or the children. The court also ordered James pay $1500 of Sandra's attorney fees.

         James filed a motion to enlarge or amend, requesting the court modify the subsidy for T.S. down to $150 per month, eliminate the subsidy for N.S., and eliminate the attorney fees awarded. The court found James was not credible concerning his claim that his wife contributed nothing to household expenses, and noted James offered no support for his claimed expenses. The court did not modify its ruling. James appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         "A proceeding to modify or implement a marriage dissolution decree subsequent to its entry is triable in equity and reviewed de novo on appeal." In re Marriage of Pals, 714 N.W.2d 644, 646 (Iowa 2006) (citation omitted). In equity proceedings, we give weight to the factual findings of the district court, especially when considering the ...


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