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In re S.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF S.W., Minor Child, E.W., Father, Appellant, T.A., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Emmet County, Ann M. Gales, District Associate Judge.

         The mother and father appeal separately from the termination of their parental rights to their minor child.

          Michael H. Johnson of Johnson Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for appellant father.

          Bethany J. Verhoef Brands of Brands Law Office, Spirit Lake, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Van Compernolle, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Shannon L. Sandy of Sandy Law Firm, P.C., Spirit Lake, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         I. Mother's Appeal.

         The mother filed a petition on appeal stating, "The mother . . . seeks reversal of the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights with respect to her daughter S.W. only if the Court reverses the juvenile court [order] terminating the parental rights of the father." The mother maintains her consent to the termination of her rights was conditioned upon the termination of the father's parental rights. See Iowa Code § 232.116(1)(a) (2016). However, the mother's parental rights were terminated on additional grounds as well. See id. § 232.116(1)(g), (h). Yet the mother does not challenge the other statutory grounds, claim termination is not in S.W.'s best interests, nor ask us to apply a permissive factor in subsection (3) to save the parent-child relationship. Without further consideration, the termination of the mother's parental rights to S.W. is affirmed. See In re J.J.A., 580 N.W.2d 731, 740 (Iowa 1998) (refusing to consider issues that have not been properly raised); see also Iowa Ct. R. 21.26(e).

         II. Father's Appeal.

         The father maintains the State has not proven (1) the statutory grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence and (2) termination is in S.W.'s best interests. He also challenges the court's finding that the State made reasonable efforts to reunify him with S.W., and the ruling denying his motion to reopen the record.

          A. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The Iowa Department of Humans Services (DHS) became involved with this family almost immediately after S.W.'s birth, in May 2014, because the mother's parental rights to three other children had already been terminated. DHS began offering a ...


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