KRISTIN M. POTTER, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ERIC J. SMITH, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Carla T.
appeals the district court's order denying his request to
modify a paternity order. AFFIRMED.
Benjamin Folladori of Marberry Law Firm, P.C., Urbandale, for
R. Hinchliff of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese,
P.C., West Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Smith (Eric) appeals from the district court order, which
modified Eric's visitation and denied Eric's request
for an award of physical care after the custodial parent
moved to Arizona with the parties' nine-year-old
daughter. On review of the entire record, we affirm the
district court's ruling.
Facts and Procedural History.
Potter (Kristin) and Eric have never been married but are the
parents of one child, J.S., born in 2009. On January 19,
2011, a document entitled "Consent Judgment Re:
Paternity, Custody, Parenting Time and Child Support"
was filed in Maricopa County, Arizona, granting Kristin and
Eric joint custody. On November 28, 2011, a second
order was entered in Arizona adopting an agreement of the
parties that modified the parties' parenting time. While
shortlived, the parties reconciled and moved to Colorado.
Kristin and Eric then moved to Iowa in 2015.
17, 2016, Kristin filed an application for a civil protection
order under Iowa Code chapter 236 (2016). On June 30, 2016, a
consent order was entered prohibiting Eric from having any
in-person contact with Kristin. The parties were allowed only
written communication. On August 3, 2016, Kristin filed a
petition to register a foreign judgment in Polk County, Iowa,
and on September 19, 2016, Kristin filed a petition in Polk
County, Iowa, requesting modification of the Arizona order.
During the course of the initial Iowa proceedings, the court
appointed Susan Gauger to conduct a child custody evaluation.
The evaluation recommended the parties be awarded joint legal
custody and Kristin be awarded physical care of J.S.
April 17, 2017, Kristin and Eric agreed to modify the
previous order, with the parties remaining joint legal
custodians of J.S. and Kristin being awarded physical care of
J.S. Such agreement was approved by the Iowa court.
Eric's visitation was set at every other weekend and an
overnight every Wednesday. Additionally, for the weeks in
which Eric did not have weekend visitation, he was also
entitled to an overnight Thursday visit. The terms of the
previously entered no-contact order in favor of Kristin were
incorporated within that stipulation and modified
March 5, 2018, Kristin provided written notice to Eric of her
intent to move back to Arizona. On April 9, 2018, Kristin
filed a petition requesting modification of Eric's
visitation in anticipation of such move. A child and family
reporter was appointed by the court at the request of
Kristin, over the objection of Eric. On August 22, 2018, Eric
filed an application for an emergency temporary injunction to
prohibit Kristin from moving with J.S. to Arizona. Following
a hearing, the district court denied and dismissed Eric's
application for injunctive relief. Eric then filed a
counterclaim requesting he be awarded physical care of J.S.
Prior to the final trial, Kristin and J.S. moved to Arizona,
where Kristin, her fiancé, and J.S. now reside.
trial on Kristin's petition for modification and
Eric's counterclaim was held over a two-day period in
December 2018. At the time of trial, Kristin was expecting a
new baby and employed in Arizona as a nurse with an annual
income of $56, 000. J.S. was enrolled in school in Arizona.
Eric remained in Des Moines, residing with his girlfriend and
her two children. He continued to work for a company based
out of Chandler, Arizona, earning an annual income of $78,
the filing of the modified order, Eric filed a motion
pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2). Such was
denied in its entirety by the district court. His appeal