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Case No. 18-0813

In the Interest of B.H.A., Minor Child

Appellant appeals the juvenile court’s denial of her petition to terminate the father’s parental rights as not in the best interest of the child, despite finding appellant had proven the elements of abandonment of the child by clear and convincing evidence.

Trial Court Case No.:

J.R., Mother-Petitioner-Appellant

M.A., Father-Respondent-Appellee

Attorney for Appellant Mother

Judith O'Donohoe

Attorney for Appellee Father

Danielle M. DeBower

Guardian ad litem

Ann M. Troge

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Nov 18, 2019 9:00 AM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jan 31, 2020
Date Amended:
Apr 13, 2020

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jun 05, 2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Karen Kaufman Salic, District Associate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  Dissent by Vaitheswaran, P.J.  (19 pages)

            A mother appeals the juvenile court order denying her petition to terminate the parental rights of her son’s father under Iowa Code chapter 600A (2017).  She contends the juvenile court incorrectly concluded termination is not in the child’s best interests despite the father’s incarceration in another state and far-off release date, long history of substance abuse, and abandonment of the child.  OPINION HOLDS: Because the best-interests standard for private termination under chapter 600A differs from that under chapter 232, we are not prepared to write off the possibility the father will be a positive influence in the child’s life.  The mother did not carry her burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the child’s best interests at this time.  DISSENT ASSERTS: I respectfully dissent.  I would reverse the denial of the termination petition and remand for entry of an order granting the mother’s termination petition.

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