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Case No. 18-1514

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

In the Interest of J.C., Minor Child

M.S., Father-Appellant

Attorney for Appellant Father

Jeremy Feitelson

Attorney for Appellee State

Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General

Guardian ad litem

Kayla Stratton

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Dec 19, 2018

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, District Associate Judge.  REVERSED.  Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  Separate Writing by McDonald, J.  Dissent by Vogel, P.J.  (17 pages)

            A father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his child.  OPINION HOLDS: The agency’s failure to notify the father of the child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings prevented him from being heard in the CINA action and rendered the proceeding void as to him.  We further conclude an intent to abandon the child was not established.  SEPARATE WRITING ASSERTS: There is insufficient evidence supporting the statutory ground authorizing the termination of the father’s parental rights.  The issue of whether the father received notice of the CINA case is not before this court.  Even if the issue of notice was properly before this court, the father’s lack of notice of the CINA case is immaterial to the termination of the father’s parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), which does not require the child first be adjudicated in need of assistance as a prerequisite to termination of parental rights.  DISSENT ASSERTS: Iwould affirm the termination of the father’s parental rights in its entirety.  I believe both issues of notice and abandonment were not properly raised and should not provide a basis to reverse on appeal.

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