In re the Marriage of Bechthold
Darren M. Bechthold, Petitioner-Appellant
Angela J. Bechthold, Respondent-Appellee
Attorney for Appellant
John R. Walker, Jr.
Attorney for Appellee
Timothy M. Sweet and Maria L. Hartman
Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals Opinion
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David P. Odekirk, Judge. AFFIRMED IN PART AND AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED IN PART ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL. Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ. Opinion by Mullins, J. (27 pages)
Darren Bechthold appeals, and Angela Bechthold cross-appeals, a decree of dissolution of marriage. Darren challenges the tax-liability, property-distribution, child-support, spousal-support, and attorney-fee provisions of the decree as inequitable. Angela argues the awards of spousal support and attorney fees in her favor are inadequate, the district court’s consideration of new evidence in conjunction with Darren’s post-trial motions was improper, and Darren’s child-support obligation should be increased on appeal in light of new Iowa Court Rule 9.11A. Angela seeks an award of appellate attorney fees. OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the district court’s decree, but modify it in several respects. We modify the district court’s decree to provide Darren shall be responsible for sixty-one percent and Angela shall be responsible for thirty-nine percent of the parties’ tax liability resulting from the sale of farm assets for tax year 2016, with Angela’s share paid by a reduction in the equalization payment due from Darren. We modify Darren’s equalization payment to Angela to $173,706.46, as reduced by her share of the tax liability. We decline to increase the equalization payment upon Angela’s argument that Darren dissipated the assets of the marital estate by purchasing jewelry for his girlfriend. We modify the decree by holding each party is entitled to substantially similar marital-share survivor benefits in one another’s pensions. We affirm the spousal-support award in favor of Angela in the amount of $500.00 per month. We modify the decretal child-support amounts to $1353.03 for three children, $1183.60 for two children, and $821.71 for one child. We find Angela’s request that we increase Darren’s child-support obligation on appeal in light of new Iowa Court Rule 9.11A is not supported by substantial evidence and therefore deny the request. We affirm the district court’s allocation of expenses in addition to child support for the child under shared physical care. We affirm the district court’s award of trial attorney fees and deny Angela’s request for appellate attorney fees. Costs on appeal are assessed equally between the parties.