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In re J.M.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 20, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF J.M., Minor Child, K.F., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee B.M., Father, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Mark R. Fowler, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the order granting the mother's petition to terminate his parental rights to his child. AFFIRMED.

          Lauren M. Phelps, Hudson, Florida, for appellant father.

          Jennifer M. Olsen of Olsen Law Firm, Davenport, for appellee mother.

          Dana L. Copell of Law Office of Dana L. Copell, Davenport, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          DOYLE, Presiding Judge.

         A father appeals the order granting the mother's petition to terminate his parental rights to his child. He contends the mother failed to prove the grounds for termination under section 600A.8(3)(b) (2018). He also contends the juvenile court failed to consider the child's best interests. We review his claims de novo. See In re R.K.B., 572 N.W.2d 600, 601 (Iowa 1998).

         The juvenile court may terminate a parent's rights to a child upon clear and convincing evidence the parent has abandoned the child. See Iowa Code § 600A.8(3). A parent is deemed to have abandoned a child who is six months of age or older

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 child.
(3) Openly living with the child for a period of six months within the one-year period immediately preceding the termination of parental rights hearing and during that period openly holding himself or herself out to be the parent of the child.

Iowa Code § 600A.8(3)(b). A parent's subjective intent to continue a relationship with the child will not preclude a determination that the parent has abandoned the child if that intent is unsupported by evidence of the acts outlined in ...


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