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In re D.E.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 5, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF D.E., Minor Child, R.R., Father, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin J. Witt, District Associate Judge.

R.R. appeals from the denial of his oral motion to intervene and a permanency order.

William Bushell of Bushell Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, John Sarcone, County Attorney, and Michelle Chenoweth, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Samantha Gronewald of Sullivan & Ward, West Des Moines, for mother.

ConGarry Williams, Des Moines, attorney for minor child.

Lane Lucas, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

R.R. appeals the juvenile court's denial of his oral motion to intervene, which was made in the middle of the permanency hearing. He contends he is the only father the child has ever known and the court should have granted his oral motion to intervene and should have allowed D.E. to be placed with him. We find no error in the court's denial of the motion to intervene or the entry of the permanency order, and we, therefore, affirm.

Our review of a denial of a motion to intervene is for the correction of errors at law. Although our review is on error, we accord some discretion to the district court. The district court exercises this discretion when determining whether an applicant intervenor is "interested" in the litigation before the court.

In re H.N.B., 619 N.W.2d 340, 342-43 (Iowa 2000).

R.R. is not the biological father of the teen, D.E., but is the father of D.E.'s younger half-sibling. This child-in-need-of-assistance proceeding resulted from the mother, S.E.'s mental health and substance abuse issues. Domestic violence concerns between S.E. and R.R. came to light. R.R. was not living in the home at the time of the children were removed from the mother's care in March 2012. D.E. was placed with his maternal aunt at the time of his removal. D.E. has remained in her care since.

R.R. did not file a motion to intervene despite repeatedly[1] being notified of his lack of legal rights to D.E. and lack of standing to request visitation. More than a year after juvenile court involvement with this family—on the day of the permanency hearing—R.R. made an oral motion to intervene, stating, "We had previously thought the Court had recognized him as the equitable father . . . ." In ...


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