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In re Intrest of A.E.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 12, 2014

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

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge. A father appeals from the order terminating his parental rights.

Tammy L. Banning of Tammy L. Banning, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Steven J. Halbach, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Christopher M. Nydle of Gruhn Law Firm, Cedar Rapids, for mother.

Michael Lanigan, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

OPINION

MCDONALD, J.

A father appeals an order pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e), (h), and ( l ) (2013) terminating the parental rights between him and his child, A.E. The father does not challenge that the State proved by clear and convincing evidence statutory grounds supporting termination. Instead, he contends that the termination of his parental rights is not in the best interest of the child and that termination need not proceed because the child has been placed with a relative, his mother. The mother does not appeal the termination order. We affirm the termination order.

I.

We review de novo proceedings terminating parental rights. See In re H.S., 805 N.W.2d 737, 745 (Iowa 2011). We examine both the facts and law, and we adjudicate anew those issues properly preserved and presented. See In re L.G., 532 N.W.2d 478, 480 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995). We give weight to the findings of the juvenile court, especially concerning the credibility of witnesses, but we are not bound by them. See id. at 480-81. While giving weight to the findings of the juvenile court, our obligation to review termination proceedings de novo means our review is not a rubber stamp of what has come before. We will thus uphold an order terminating parental rights only if there is clear and convincing evidence of grounds for termination. See In re C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Iowa 2000). Evidence is " clear and convincing" when there are no " serious or substantial doubts as to the correctness [of] conclusions of law drawn from the evidence." Id.

II.

Termination of parental rights under chapter 232 follows a three-step analysis. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 39 (Iowa 2010). First, the court must determine if a ground for termination under section 232.116(1) has been established. See id . Second, if a ground for termination is established, the court must apply the framework set out in section 232.116(2) to decide if proceeding with termination is in the best interests of the child. See id . Third, if the statutory best-interests framework supports termination of parental rights, the court ...


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