Iowa Child Custody
Chapter 598 of the Iowa Code contains the laws about child custody for the state. Any parent in Iowa who is involved in a custody situation should take the time to become familiar with the law. Here are some highlights to get started.
Joint custody. The state has a lot of information about joint custody. Parents can choose to have a joint custody arrangement, and they can create an Iowa parenting plan that details how they will share the responsibilities of child rearing. If only one parent wants joint custody and petitions the court for it, the court will most likely grant it, unless the other parent can prove that the arrangement is detrimental to the child. Even if a sole custody agreement is accepted, the parents must make an Iowa visitation schedule that gives maximum visitation time to the other parent. Joint legal custody can be granted without joint physical custody.
Factors about the best interest of the child. The state makes every custody decision with the child’s best welfare in mind. When determining an Iowa custody agreement, the court will look at the following factors:
- Whether each parent would be a suitable custodian for the child.
- Whether the psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will suffer due to lack of active contact with and attention from both parents.
- Whether the parents can communicate with each other regarding the child’s needs.
- Whether both parents have actively cared for the child before and since the separation.
- Whether each parent can support the other parent’s relationship with the child.
- Whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the child’s wishes or whether the child has strong opposition, taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity.
- Whether one or both the parents agree or are opposed to joint custody.
- The geographic proximity of the parents.
- Whether the safety of the child, other children, or the other parent will be jeopardized by the awarding of joint custody or by unsupervised or unrestricted visitation.
- Whether a history of domestic abuse exists.
Basically, the state wants to protect the right of the child to have both parents involved in the child’s life–even after the parents separate. An Iowa custody schedule should give the child the opportunity to be with the other parent physically and emotionally.