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In re K.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF K.C., Minor Child, S.K., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, P.C., Father, Respondent-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Dustria A. Relph, Judge.

         A father appeals the private termination of his parental rights.

          Britt Gagne of Gagne Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Katie M. Naset of Hope Law Firm & Associates, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellee.

          Eric W. Manning of Manning Law Office, PLLC, Urbandale, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Greer, JJ.

          Potterfield, Presiding Judge.

         This is an appeal in a private action to terminate parental rights filed pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 600A (2017). The district court terminated the father's parental rights to his child, K.C., pursuant to Iowa Code section 600A.8(3)(b) (abandonment). The father appeals, asserting there is insufficient evidence of abandonment to sustain the termination order and he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

         I. Background Facts.

         S.K., the mother, and P.C., the father, met and began a romantic relationship around 2000. They had K.C. in 2005. The parents never married. Their relationship was fraught with domestic violence, and the mother moved out of the father's residence in "the end of spring" 2008 and moved in with her parents.[1]

         The father was working 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. shifts at his place of employment. He testified he cared for the child during the days. This arrangement ended in July 2009. P.C. next saw K.C. in February 2010. He has paid no child support.

         The father sent certified letters to the mother at her parents' residence in June and July 2010. He did not otherwise attempt to see or contact the child. S.K. testified she did not receive either certified letter.

         S.K. married O.K. in September 2010 and they moved with K.C. to California. As S.K. testified, "My information in California was public. I had a California driver's license. My car was registered in California. I had employment in California. I went to college in California. I had no aliases."

         P.C. sent a certified letter to S.K. at her parents' residence in August 2011. He was aware S.K. had moved out of state. Though earning more than $65, 000 per year, P.C. did not ...


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