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In re E.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 21, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF E.H. and Z.H., Minor Children, A.H., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Karen R. K. Salic, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2016). AFFIRMED.

          Michael J. Moeller of Sorensen & Moeller Law Office, Clear Lake, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Carrie J. Rodriguez of Garland & Rodriguez, Garner, guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

          MCDONALD, Judge.

         Ashley appeals from an order terminating her parental rights in her children, E.H. and Z.H. The juvenile court terminated Ashley's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), (d), (e), (f), and (l) (2016). In her petition on appeal, Ashley contends the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the statutory grounds authorizing the termination of her parental rights. She also contends the district court should have declined to terminate her parental rights pursuant to Code section 232.116(3).

         I.

         "We review proceedings terminating parental rights de novo." In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014) (citing In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010)). The statutory framework is well established. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1), the State must prove a statutory ground authorizing the termination of a parent's rights. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 39 (Iowa 2010). Second, pursuant to section 232.116(2), the State must prove termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the children. See id. Third, if the State has proved both the existence of statutory harm and termination of a parent's rights is in the best interests of the children, the juvenile court must consider whether any countervailing considerations set forth in section 232.116(3) should nonetheless preclude termination of parental rights. See id. These countervailing considerations are permissive, not mandatory. See A.M., 843 N.W.2d at 113.

         II.

         A.

         Ashley challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting each statutory ground authorizing termination of her parental rights. Where, as here, the juvenile court terminates parental rights pursuant to more than one statutory ground, we may affirm the order so long as there is sufficient evidence to support termination of parental rights pursuant to any one ground. See D.W., 791 N.W.2d at 707.

         We address the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the termination of Ashley's parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f). Pursuant to this provision, the State is required to prove ...


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