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In re L.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 26, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF L.H., Minor Child, D.M., Mother, Appellant, T.H., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Craig M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights to a child.

          Amanda J. Heims of Amanda J. Heims, PC, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.

          Kyle J. McGinn of McGinn, Springer & Noethe, PLC, Council Bluffs, for appellant father.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Meredith L. Lamberti, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A mother and father appeal the termination of their parental rights to a child, born in 2016. The mother contends (A) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the district court, (B) the termination hearing should have been postponed, and (C) the district court should have declined to terminate her parental rights based on the closeness of the parent-child bond. The father contends (A) the State failed to prove the grounds for termination cited by the district court and (B) termination was not in the child's best interests given the closeness of the parent-child bond.

         I. Mother

         A. Grounds for Termination

         The district court terminated the mother's parental rights under three statutory grounds. We may affirm if we find clear and convincing evidence to support any of the grounds. In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999).

         Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h) (2017) requires proof (1) the child is three years of age or younger, (2) the child was adjudicated in need of assistance, (3) "the child has been removed from the physical custody of the child's parents for at least six months of the last twelve months, or for the last six consecutive months and any trial period at home has been less than thirty days," and (4) the child cannot be returned to the parents' custody. Our de novo review of the record reveals the following facts.

         The mother has a fourteen-year history of methamphetamine abuse and a seventeen-year history of marijuana abuse. The child was born with marijuana in his system. He was ...


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