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Thomsen v. Nelson

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 11, 2019

JOSHUA PAUL THOMSEN, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v.
MAKINZIE ROSE NELSON, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Tod Deck, Judge.

         Joshua Thomsen appeals and MaKinzie Nelson cross-appeals from the district court's custody decree. AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL.

          A. Eric Neu of Minnich, Comito & Neu, P.C., Carroll, for appellant/cross-appellee.

          Michael J. Riley and Bryan D. Swain of Salvo, Deren, Schenck, Gross, Swain & Argotsinger, P.C., Harlan, for appellee/cross-appellant.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE

         This case is about K.R.T., the happy, healthy, thriving three-year-old child of Joshua Thomsen and MaKinzie Nelson. Following a trial on Joshua's custody petition, the district court entered a decree awarding joint legal custody, granting physical care to MaKinzie, and ordering robust visitation for Joshua. Both parents appealed.

         Joshua argues the district court should have ordered joint physical care or, in the alternative, granted physical care to him. He also argues the district court should have accepted his proposed holiday visitation schedule.

         MaKinzie generally defends the district court's decree. But she contends the court provided "excessive" visitation for Joshua and, moreover, failed to specify a proper location for her to pick up K.R.T. following visitation.

         We affirm on all points except for the holiday visitation schedule, which we modify.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Joshua and MaKinzie began their relationship in 2014. The couple moved in together in October 2015. K.R.T. was born in July 2016. Joshua was employed as a farmhand. He was the main source of income during the relationship while MaKinzie attended cosmetology school and cared for K.R.T. Both parties agree MaKinzie was the primary caretaker of K.R.T. while Joshua worked.

         By October 2017, the couple had split and Joshua moved out. Joshua later purchased a home with his girlfriend. She has three young children from a previous marriage.

         In December 2017, Joshua filed a custody petition.[1] Following trial, the court entered a decree awarding joint legal custody, placing physical care with MaKinzie, ...


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