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Case No. 22-0301

In the Interest of L.M., Minor Child

S.M., Father-Appellant

A.T., Mother-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

Jonathan Willier

Attorney for Appellant Mother

Julie De Vries

Attorney for Appellee State

Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad Litem

Sam K. Erhardt

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Apr 27, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, William Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.  MOTHER'S APPEAL AFFIRMED; FATHER'S APPEAL REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Ahlers, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  Partial Dissent by Ahlers, J.  (20 pages)

            April and Stephen appeal the termination of their parental rights.  OPINION HOLDS: The State established grounds for terminating April’s parental rights.  Termination is in L.M.’s best interests, outweighing April’s requests for termination exceptions or additional time.  As for Stephen, he agreed a ground for termination was met.  But given his substantial progress since removal, additional time for reunification is appropriate.  We affirm as to April but reverse and remand for Stephen.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I concur in the decision to affirm termination of the mother’s parental rights.  As to the majority’s decision to reverse termination of the father’s parental rights and provide him with additional time for reunification, I dissent because of the father’s lack of a track record of parenting and the relevant time horizon.

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