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In re J.P.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2020

IN THE INTEREST OF J.P., G.P., J.H., and L.H., Minor Children, K.W., Mother, Appellant, J.H., Father of J.H. and L.H., Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Franklin County, Peter B. Newell, District Associate Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court's termination of their parental rights.

          William P. Baresel of Prichard Law Office, PC, Charles City, for appellant mother.

          Mark A. Milder, Denver, for appellant father of J.H. and L.H.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Alesha Michelle Sigmeth Roberts, Clarion, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Bower, C.J., and May and Greer, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         A mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights to four children, J.P., G.P., J.H., and L.H. The father of J.H. and L.H. also appeals the termination of his rights.[1] Both parents challenge the statutory grounds authorizing termination. The father[2] also argues termination was not in the children's best interests.

         We review termination proceedings de novo. In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010). "We will uphold an order terminating parental rights where there is clear and convincing evidence of the statutory grounds for termination. Evidence is clear and convincing when there is no serious or substantial doubt as to the correctness of the conclusions of law drawn from the evidence." In re T.S., 868 N.W.2d 425, 431 (Iowa Ct. App. 2015) (citing In re D.W., 791 N.W.2d 703, 706 (Iowa 2010)).

         We generally use a three-step analysis to review the termination of parents' rights. In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018). We determine: (1) whether grounds for termination have been established, (2) whether termination is in the children's best interests, and (3) whether we should exercise any of the permissive exceptions to termination. Id. at 472-73. However, if a parent does not challenge a step in our analysis, we need not address it.

          With respect to the mother, the juvenile court found grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (l) (2019).[3] However, the mother only challenges the juvenile court's finding with respect to paragraph (f). Because the mother does not challenge the statutory grounds under paragraph (l), we find the statutory grounds authorizing termination satisfied under section 232.116(1)(l). See In re N.S., No. 14-1375, 2014 WL 5253291, at *3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 15, 2014). And because the mother brings no other challenge to the juvenile court's termination analysis, our analysis with respect to her appeal is complete.

         With respect to the father, the juvenile court terminated his parental rights pursuant to section 232.116(1)(f). Section 232.116(1)(f) authorizes ...


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