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In re A.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF A.W. and B.W. Minor Children,
v.
W.V.D., Father, Respondent-Appellant. J.W., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A father appeals the juvenile court's termination of his parental rights in a private termination action. AFFIRMED.

          Mark A. Milder of Mark Milder Law Firm, Waverly, for appellant father.

          Timothy J. Luce of Anfinson & Luce, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellee mother.

          Joslyn N. Sailer of Sailer Law, P.L.L.C., Cedar Falls, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         A father appeals the juvenile court's termination of his parental rights in a private termination action. We find there is sufficient evidence in the record to show the father abandoned the children. Also, termination is in the children's best interests. We affirm the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         A.W. and B.W. were born in September 2016. The children were conceived as the result of an isolated sexual encounter in Colorado, where the father lived. The father was aware the mother returned to the state of Washington and believed he was the father of the children. The mother informed the father she intended to place the children for adoption, although he wanted to keep the children. The father provided no financial assistance to the mother during the pregnancy. The mother came to Iowa and placed the children with a pre-adoptive family and the children have remained with them during the pendency of the action.

         A petition to terminate the father's parental rights was filed September 29 and the father filed a response November 11. The father was appointed counsel and stated he had an income of approximately $1500 per month, mostly from Social Security Disability payments. The father lived in Colorado in a camper. He also testified to frequent drug use. The father traveled to Iowa in January 2017, and again in March. During those trips he made no request to visit the children. The father testified he had purchased necessities for caring for the children, such as car seats, but did not provide any evidence to support his position. He also testified he had sent money to support the children. However, the money had not been received at the time of the termination hearing.

         The termination hearing was held March 21. The juvenile court entered an order terminating the father's parental rights on May 19. The father now appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         Our review in matters pertaining to termination of parental rights under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2016) is de novo. In re D.E.E., 472 N.W.2d 628, 629 (Iowa Ct. App. 1991). In cases tried in equity, we give weight to the factual findings of the district court but are not bound by them. Iowa R. App P. 6.904(3)(g). In termination ...


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