IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF STEVE RICKY PALMER AND DEBRA SUE PALMER Upon the Petition of STEVE RICKY PALMER, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning DEBRA SUE PALMER, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Mills County, Timothy
Palmer appeals the decree dissolving his marriage to Debra
E. Focht of Focht Law Office, Council Bluffs, for appellant.
Stephen C. Ebke of Ebke Law Office, Council Bluffs, for
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.
district court dissolved the marriage of Steve and Debra
Palmer. On appeal, Steve argues the district court did not
award him enough spousal support. We conclude the district
court did not fail to do equity. Therefore, we affirm.
and Debra married in September 1998. Throughout their
marriage, Debra worked at Glenwood Resource Center, a state
facility. Steve worked in manual labor positions until 2012
when he was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome.
After that, Steve received disability benefits instead of
2018, Steve filed for divorce. That fall, the district court
entered a decree of dissolution. Debra's IPERS account
was one of the assets divided. Relying on In re Marriage
of Benson, 545 N.W.2d 252 (Iowa 1996), the district
court determined Steve was entitled to 29.42% of the account.
spousal support, the district court crafted a two-tiered
structure. See Iowa Code § 598.21A (2018).
Initially, Debra must pay Steve $1000 per month. But when
Steve begins to receive benefits from Debra's IPERS
account, Debra's support payment will decrease to $400
appeal, Steve asks that we increase his spousal support award
to $2500 per month for life.
Standard of Review
review of dissolution proceedings is de novo. Iowa R. App. P.
6.907. Yet we recognize "the district court is best
positioned to evaluate the needs of parties." In re
Marriage of Dirkx, No. 18-0422, 2019 WL 3330625, at *2
(Iowa Ct. App. July 24, 2019). Therefore, we afford the
district court "considerable latitude" in
determining spousal support. In re Marriage of
Anliker, 694 N.W.2d 535, 540 (Iowa 2005). "We will
disturb that determination only when there has been a failure
to do equity." Id. "This deference to the
trial court's determination is decidedly in the public
interest." Benson, 545 N.W.2d at 257.
"When appellate courts unduly refine these important,
but often conjectural, judgment calls, they ...