from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County,
Charles D. Fagan, District Associate Judge.
father appeals from the termination of his parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 600A (2017).
E. Benson of Benson Law, PC, Council Bluffs, for appellant
father. Leslie A. Christensen, Omaha, Nebraska, for appellee
C. Goaley, Council Bluffs, attorney and guardian ad litem for
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his
child, G.M. The father maintains there is not clear and
convincing evidence he abandoned his child within the meaning
of Iowa Code section 600A.8(3)(b) (2017) and termination is
not in the child's best interests.
review private termination proceedings de novo. In re
G.A., 826 N.W.2d 125, 127 (Iowa Ct. App. 2012). We give
deference to the factual findings of the juvenile court,
especially those related to witness credibility. Id.
As always, our primary concern in a termination proceeding is
the best interests of the child at issue. Iowa Code §
court may terminate the non-petitioning parent's parental
rights if it finds clear and convincing evidence the parent
has abandoned the child, within the meaning of section
600A.8(3). Section 600A.8(3)(b) provides, in pertinent part:
If the child is six months of age or older when the
termination hearing is held, a parent is deemed to have
abandoned the child unless the parent maintains substantial
and continuous or repeated contact with the child as
demonstrated by contribution toward support of the child of a
reasonable amount, according to the parent's means, and
as demonstrated by any of the following:
(1) Visiting the child at least monthly when physically and
financially able to do so and when not prevented from doing
so by the person having lawful custody of the child.
(2) Regular communication with the child or with the person
having the care or custody of the child, when physically and
financially unable to visit the child or when prevented from
visiting the child by the person having lawful custody of the
petitioning parent bears the burden to establish the grounds
for termination. See In re R.K.B., 572 N.W.2d 600,
601-02 (Iowa 1998).
father maintains he did not abandon G.M. The father had never
provided any financial support for the child and had yet to
meet five-year-old G.M. at the time of the termination
hearing; the father does not dispute the lack of support, but
as to contact with the ...