IN THE INTEREST OF L.H., Minor child, S.M., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, J.H., Father, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J.
appeals from an order terminating his parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 600A (2015). AFFIRMED.
Van Cleaf of Van Cleaf & McCormack Law Firm, LLP, Des
Moines, for appellant father.
A. Genest of Culp, Doran & Genest, P.L.C., Des Moines,
for appellee mother.
A. Macro Jr. of Macro & Kozlowski, L.L.P., West Des
Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
appeal arises out of a private action to terminate parental
rights filed pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 600A (2015).
Sarah, the biological mother of L.H., filed the action to
terminate the parental rights of Johnathon, the biological
father of L.H. The district court granted the petition,
finding and concluding the father had abandoned the child
within the meaning of Iowa Code section 600A.8(3). The father
timely filed this appeal.
court reviews de novo termination-of-parental-rights
proceedings. See In re C.A.V., 787 N.W.2d 96, 99
(Iowa Ct. App. 2010). "Although our review is de novo,
we do afford the decision of the district court deference for
policy reasons." State v. Snow, No. 15-0929,
2016 WL 4801353, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Sept. 14, 2016).
petitioner must prove each element of her case by clear and
convincing evidence. See Iowa Code § 600A.8.
The code provides a minor child is abandoned when:
[A] parent, punitive father, custodian, or guardian rejects
the duties imposed by the parent-child relationship,
guardianship, or custodianship, 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 the support of
the child or to communicate with the child.
Iowa Code § 600A.2(19). More specifically, because L.H.
was older than six months at the time of the termination
hearing, section 600A.3(8)(b) provides:
If the child is six months of age or older when the
termination hearing is held, a parent is deemed to have
abandoned the 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 any of the following:
(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 ...