In the Interest of J.G., Minor Child

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 21-1836 Filed June 29, 2022 IN THE INTEREST OF J.G., Minor Child, E.A., Mother, Petitioner-Appellee, M.C., Father, Respondent-Appellant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Paul G. Crawford, District Associate Judge. A father appeals the termination of parental rights to his son. AFFIRMED. Christopher A. Clausen of Clausen Law Office, Ames, for appellant. Norma J. Meade of Moore, McKibben, Goodman & Lorenz, LLP, Marshalltown, for appellee. Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Potterfield, S.J.* *Senior judge assigned by order pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.9206 (2022). 2 TABOR, Judge. Manuel, the father of eleven-year-old J.G., appeals the termination of his parental rights under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2021). For most of J.G.’s life, Manuel provided no financial help and had no contact with his son. Manuel blames J.G.’s mother, Eliana, for “putting up roadblocks” between him and their child. At the termination hearing, Manuel testified, “I would love to pay child support and get to know my son.” But his subjective desire has not manifested in the assumption of parental duties. Like the district court, we find Eliana presented clear and convincing evidence that Manuel abandoned the child, and termination of Manuel’s parental rights is in J.G.’s best interests.1 I. Facts and Prior Proceedings Manuel and Eliana welcomed their son, J.G., in October 2010. At first they lived with Manuel’s family but soon moved into their own home in Newton. Eliana testified that Manuel was unemployed and struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. But Manuel denied substance-abuse problems. Eliana also testified that Manuel physically abused her while she was pregnant with J.G. The couple separated in August 2011 after a fight at their home. Eliana recalled that Manuel assaulted and strangled her and tried to take J.G. away. She called the police but did not pursue criminal charges. Manuel denies being 1 We review termination decisions under chapter 600A de novo. In re B.H.A., 938 N.W.2d 227, 232 (Iowa 2020). We give weight to the district court’s findings of fact, but they do not bind us. Id. We accord special deference to that court’s credibility determinations. Id. When interpreting chapter 600A, we give parents’ rights due consideration. Iowa Code § 600A.1. But our paramount concern is the child’s best interests. Id. 3 physically aggressive toward Eliana. He moved out of their home, but Eliana told Manuel he could see J.G. as long as he was not using drugs. For a few months after he moved out, Manuel exercised visitation with J.G., taking the child for a few hours once a week or sometimes for the weekend. But problems arose with those visits. J.G. would often come home crying and feeling sick. And often, Manuel would drop off J.G. at his mother’s home and leave, rather than spend time with the child. The paternal grandmother once asked Eliana why she let Manuel take J.G. when he was “not the one taking care of him.” Meanwhile, Eliana started dating Moises. …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals