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In re the Marriage of Christenson
Dawn Renee Christenson, Petitioner-Appellant
Chad Totten Christenson, Respondent-Appellee
Attorney for Appellant
Blake D. Lubinus
Attorney for Appellee
Cory F. Gourley
Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals Opinion
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge. AFFIRMED. Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ. Opinion by Potterfield, P.J. (15 pages)
Dawn Christenson appeals from the district court’s denial of her petition to modify provisions of the decree dissolving her marriage to Chad Christenson. Dawn asked the district court to modify the decree to give her sole legal custody and physical care of the parties’ minor child; she also asked the court to modify the child-support obligation accordingly. On appeal, Dawn challenges the district court’s denial of her motion for default judgment. Alternatively, she argues the court should have granted her application for modification on the merits because a substantial change in circumstances warranting modification exists and modification is in the minor child’s best interests. OPINION HOLDS: As the district court is bound to reach custody determinations based upon the best interests of the child at issue, we cannot say the court abused its discretion when it denied Dawn’s application for default judgment. In considering the merits of the application for modification, we find Dawn established a substantial change in circumstances exists, but we cannot say she is better able to minister to A.C.’s well-being. Thus, we affirm the district court’s denial of her application for modification.