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Ward v. Robinson

Court of Appeal of Iowa

June 12, 2013

EMORY WARD JR., Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
MARY BETH ROBINSON and DOMINIC ROBINSON, Respondents-Appellants.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Glenn E. Pille, Judge.

A mother and her spouse appeal from an order denying their petition to terminate the parental rights of a father.

James R. Van Dyke of Eich, Van Dyke & Werden, P.C., Carroll, for appellee.

Ronald E. Langford of Langford Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.

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

VAITHESWARAN, P.J.

This is an appeal from an order denying a mother and her spouse's petition to terminate the father's parental rights.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Mary Beth Robinson and Emory Ward had a child in 2005 who, at all times, lived with Mary Beth. The parents went their separate ways, with Mary Beth eventually marrying Dominic Robinson.

In 2011, Ward filed a petition to establish paternity. The Robinsons admitted Ward was the biological father of the child but denied it was in the child's best interests for him to formally claim paternity. They filed an action to terminate Ward's parental rights on the ground that he abandoned the child.

The suits were consolidated and, following trial, the district court denied the Robinsons' petition to terminate, granted Ward visitation, and ordered Ward to pay $50 a month in child support. The Robinsons appealed.

II. Analysis

"To abandon a minor child"

means that a parent . . . rejects the duties imposed by the parent-child relationship, . . . which may be evinced by the person, while being able to do so, making no provision or making only a marginal effort to provide for ...

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