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Case No. 17-1252

In re the Marriage of Baccam and Onmanivong

Line Nang Baccam, Petitioner-Appellee

Khampha Onmanivong, Respondent-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant

Eric R. Eshelman

Attorney for Appellee

Katherine S. Sargent

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Nov 07, 2018

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M. Porter and Lawrence P. McLellan, Judges.  AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED..  Considered by Mullins, P.J., McDonald, J., and Carr, S.J.  Opinion by Carr, S.J.  Dissent by McDonald, J.  (25 pages)

            Khampha Onmanivong appeals the decree dissolving his marriage to Line Nang Baccam, challenging the finding of the existence of a common law marriage and the spousal support provisions of the decree.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Line has met her burden of proving the existence of a common law marriage.  II. Although the length of the marriage does not cross the “durational threshold” for awards of traditional spousal support, the facts of this case warrant such an award because Line’s need to be available to care for the children, especially the younger child who has special needs, reduces her ability to reach her actual earning capacity.  However, we reduce the amount of the spousal support award based on Line’s need and Khampha’s ability to pay.  III. The division of property is equitable under the facts of this case.  IV. Because the children’s needs prevent Line from working fulltime, it is proper to calculate child support using her income rather than her earning capacity.  V. Because the parties have an equal ability to pay, we modify the decree to eliminate the award of trial attorney fees.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent from the award of alimony.  None of the generally-recognized categories of alimony are applicable here. 

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