IN THE INTEREST OF M.K., Minor Child, J.D., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, T.K., Father, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Scott D.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
R. Stockdale, Windsor Heights, for appellant.
Elizabeth A. Kellner-Nelson of Kellner-Nelson Law Firm, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.
father of an eight-year-old child appeals an order granting
the mother's petition to terminate his parental rights.
He contends the record lacks clear and convincing evidence to
support the grounds for termination cited by the district
Background Facts and Proceedings
father and mother are the unmarried parents of a child, born
in 2009. Following the child's birth, the district court
established the father's paternity and prescribed an
"almost 50/50" joint physical care schedule under
which the mother cared for the child from Sunday through
Thursday and the father took over from Thursday through
Saturday. The court also ordered the father to pay child
mother moved from Lee County to Polk County in late 2012. In
light of the move, the care schedule was changed to afford
the mother primary physical care of the child, and the father
visitation on the third weekend of every month and for half
the summer. The father's child support obligation was
father exercised visitation for more than three and a half
years. In the fall of 2016, his in-person contacts with the
child became sporadic. The September and October visits were
cut short due to arguments between the father and paternal
grandmother of the child. The father missed his November
visit, and he only spent two hours with his son in December.
following month, the mother petitioned to terminate the
father's parental rights. Following an evidentiary
hearing eight months later, the district court granted the
petition pursuant to two statutory grounds: Iowa Code
sections 600A.8(3)(b) (2017) (abandonment) and 600A.8(4)
(failure to pay child support). The father appealed.
Abandonment - ...