Divorce Guide

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Iowa Divorce Custody


While handling Iowa divorce custody cases, the courts prefer joint custody for the child because the emphasis is on equal participation of both the parents in the welfare and upbringing of the child. There are two kinds of joint custody, joint physical custody and joint legal custody. In the former case, both the parents have custody rights regarding the residency of the child. They can take decisions regarding the physical residency of the child. In the case of joint legal custody, both the parents have the custody rights to take decisions of the child in the areas of health, schooling, education, religion etc. It can be so that a parent is awarded sole custody of the child but there is joint legal custody, so that both the parents have the right of decision-making in the life of the child.

Following factors are considered to award both the parents joint physical and legal custody in the state of Iowa:
  • Judges dealing with Iowa divorce custody battles try to assess the extent of cooperation the two divorced parents have regarding the matter of raising their child. If it is determined that a parent respects the other parentís involvement in the life of his/her child and encourage the involvement of that parent in the childís life, joint custody is preferred. Of course, this custody is awarded if this cooperation is felt from other parent also. Otherwise, sole physical custody is awarded to that parent who is most likely to encourage the involvement of other parent with their child.

  • What is the geographical proximity of the divorced parents? This is an important factor while deciding upon the issue of joint custody for obvious practical implications. After all, the ex-spouses should be located conveniently close by so as to reach out to the child during weekends, vacations etc.

  • Joint custody is awarded in those Iowa divorce custody issues only if that is what the child wishes. The best interests of the child are given the top most priority. If the welfare and safety of the child is ensured with the equal involvement of the divorced parents, then judges are likely to award joint custody to them.

  • Courts dealing with Iowa divorce custody issues look into police records of any domestic violence involved in the family and if the child has been subjected to child abuse or child neglect. If any parent is involved in such an act, the he/she is not awarded the custody of the child. In many cases, such a parent may not be given visitation rights if the safety of the child is a mater of question.

  • Iowa courts ask either both the parents or one of the parents to extend child support to meet the growing financial needs of the minor child various incomes of the parents are summed up together and a proportion of it is allocated as child support. Child support is terminated when the child reaches the age of 18 or has joined the armed forces.

  • Iowa courts advise parents to formulate their own visitation schedule so that the non-custodian parent gets enough time and space to interact well with the child. However, if the divorced parents are unable to chart out a schedule, then Iowa divorce custody courts visitation rights to the non-custodian parent as: visiting the child on alternate weekends, meet or take the child on trips during vacations in summer for 4-6 weeks and meet on alternate holidays.
Any violation of the other parentís rights such as not extending child support or alienating the child from the other parent etc, are considered serious offences and treated as contempt of court. Offenders are found to be forfeited from their divorce custody rights and maybe arrested in some cases.


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