January 11, 2017
IN THE INTEREST OF D.B., Minor Child, W.H., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, N.B., Father, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Michael
G. Dieterich, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
William R. Monroe of the Law Office of William Monroe,
Burlington, for appellant father.
Michael D. Clark of Clark & Schroeder, P.L.L.C., North
Liberty, for appellee mother.
L. Wilkens of Wilkens Law Office, Fort Madison, for minor
Considered by Vogel, P.J., McDonald, J., and Mahan, S.J.
father appeals from the termination of his parental rights
under Iowa Code section 600A.8(3) (2015).
chapter 600A, the court is allowed to terminate parental
rights in the best interest of a child when a parent fails to
assume the duties arising from parenthood. Iowa Code §
600A.1. In a private termination-of-parental-rights
proceeding, the petitioner must establish by clear and
convincing evidence that a statutory ground for termination
exists, see id. § 600A.8, and that termination
of parental rights is in the child's best interests.
See id. § 600A.1.
mother and father of D.B., born in 2007, have never been
married. The father has paid no child support since September
2013 and is more than $8200 in arrears in his obligation. In
2015, the mother filed a petition to terminate the
father's parental rights, alleging he had abandoned the
child as that term is used in chapter 600A.8(3)(b).
relevant here, section 600A.8(3)(b) deems a parent to have
abandoned a child "unless the parent maintains
substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child
as demonstrated by contribution toward support of the child
of a reasonable amount, according to the parent's
means" and as demonstrated by either of the
(1) Visiting the child at least monthly when physically and
financially able to do so and when not prevented from doing
so by the person having lawful custody of the child.
(2)Regular communication with the child or with the person
having the care or custody of the child, when physically and
financially unable to visit the child or when prevented from
visiting the child by the person having lawful custody of the
the father's child-support obligation being reduced to
forty dollars per month,  the father has paid no support at all
since September 19, 2013. The record fully supports the
juvenile court's findings that the father does not have a
stable home; is not employed, though capable of some
employment; has not provided for the needs of the child; and
has not demonstrated any interest or ability to parent the
child. While the father testified he had a seizure disorder
that kept him from full-time employment, he acknowledged his
job loss in 2013 was the result of his boss being
"tired" of working around the father's child
visitation (which is one day per week for four hours)-not the
result of his seizure disorder. He also testified he was
physically capable of performing the job in 2013 and had
worked at odd jobs since.
addition to failing to provide economically for the child,
the father has not regularly visited the child. The custody
decree allowed the father four hours of visitation per week.
The father testified that the year prior to the trial he had
left the state for at least four months and not seen the
child at all and, at the time of the November 2015 hearing,
he had not seen the child since June 2015 because he was in
jail. The father testified that prior to being placed in jail
he would see his child about "every other weekend at my
mother's house" for "two, two-and-a-half
hours." He stated, "I always attempted to show
up." We agree with the juvenile court that
"[p]laying with the child a few hours a month is not
exhibiting an affirmative parental role coupled with the
'rights, duties, or privileges inherent in the
mother has also proved that termination is in the child's
best interest. Section 600A.1 states:
The best interest of a child requires that each biological
parent affirmatively assume the duties encompassed by the
role of being a parent. In determining whether a parent has
affirmatively assumed the duties of a parent, the court shall
consider, but is not limited to consideration of, the
fulfillment of financial obligations, demonstration of
continued interest in the child, demonstration of a genuine
effort to maintain communication with the child, and
demonstration of the establishment and maintenance of a place
of importance in the child's life.
father clearly has failed to contribute to the support of the
child and has participated only minimally in the child's
life. He has not "affirmatively assumed the duties of a
parent" or demonstrated a "genuine effort" to
maintain communication or establish and maintain "a
place of importance in the child's life." Iowa Code
§ 600A.1. Moreover, the father testified he had recently
been convicted of three counts of felony sexual abuse and
faced imprisonment of at least seven years.
our de novo review of the record, see In re C.A.V.,
787 N.W.2d 96, 99 (Iowa Ct. App. 2010), we conclude there is
clear and convincing evidence that the father has abandoned
his child as that term is used in chapter 600A. We therefore
[*]Senior judge assigned by order
pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2017).
 Section 600A.8(3) allows the juvenile
court to grant a petitioner's request to terminate a
parent's rights if "[t]he parent has abandoned the
child." Section 600A.19 states,
"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, makes no provision or making only a
marginal effort to provide for the support of the child or to
communicate with the child.
 In March 2009, the father was ordered
to pay $226 per month in child support. In November 2012, his
obligation was reduced to $40 per month.