Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re D.J.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF D.J. and B.J., Minor Children, T.J., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, C.J., Father, Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clayton County, Alan D. Allbee, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         The father appeals the juvenile court's order terminating his parental rights to his children, pursuant to chapter 600A.

          Cory R. Gonzales of Law Firm of Cory R. Gonzales P.L.L.C., Strawberry Point, for appellant father.

          Justin M. Vorwald of Ehrhardt, Gnagy, McCorkindale & Vorwald, Elkader, for appellee mother.

          Considered Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, JUDGE.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Tonya (mother) and Clint (father) divorced in 2012. They had two children together: D.J., born in 2005; and B.J., born in 2008. The parties were awarded joint legal custody and shared physical care of their children under the dissolution decree. The parties waived child support. The mother and father lived close to each other, and the children would alternate weeks between the mother's and father's care.

         In September 2014, the mother suspected the father was using methamphetamine while caring for the children after the children reported abnormal behavior from the father during a visit. The children reported the father was sleeping all day and they were required to cook their own meals on an open fire. The children also reported the father would disappear for an hour in his camper with a friend. The mother testified the father had a significant amount of weight loss and "open sores all over."[1] Following the suspicion of drug use, the mother refused to allow the children to visit the father under the terms of the dissolution decree unless the father submitted to a drug screening.

         The father filed a motion for contempt based on the mother's refusal to allow visitations. The matter came on for a hearing, and in its January 2015 order, the court found the mother was not in contempt of court. The court based its findings on the concern for the safety of the children due to the father's un- kept residence, deteriorating physical appearance, and association with individuals known to use drugs. The court held:

The conduct by [the mother] was justified by her genuine concerns about the welfare of the children. The request for a drug screen test was reasonable, in view of past history, current evidence, and the widespread availability of street drugs. Therefore, her actions were not willful and do not constitute contempt of court.

         The court further held the mother must "immediately comply with all provisions of the present decree providing the respondent with full access to the children" if the father produced written drug screening results showing no positive tests for illegal substances. The father did not provide any drug screening results.

         In June 2015, an application for involuntary commitment for a substance-abuse-related disorder was filed against the father.[2] The father was evaluated in a hospital for approximately eleven days. The physician's report evaluating the father's condition indicated a "long-standing history of alcohol and amphetamine dependence." The report also stated the father was a danger to himself due to "depression, passive suicidal ideation, and refusing treatment." The father, however, was discharged based on a report stating, "[The father] does not appear to need further substance abuse treatment due to no substance use for several months and no abuse for several years." The involuntary commitment proceeding was dismissed in October 2015.

         In July 2015, the court held a hearing on the mother's previously filed petition to modify the custody provisions of dissolution decree based on the father's illegal drug use.[3] The court modified the dissolution decree to provide the mother sole physical custody of the children. The court held, "Respondent's apparent return to the usage of illegal controlled substances now interferes with his ability to care for the children. There is evidence in the record of poor decision making by the father, as it pertains to the children's supervision." The modification also provided for visitation with the father supervised by the children's paternal grandmother. Unsupervised visitation could continue if the father established he has been ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.