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How is child custody determined in Iowa?

Custody arrangement is usually one of the most contested issues during a divorce or separation. And there are pretty good reasons why this is so. Without a stable and healthy environment, the child is likely to suffer a myriad of emotional problems that can impact their well-being. 

If the divorcing parents agree to a custody arrangement, they can formally petition the court to review and enter a ruling that recognizes that arrangement. However, if they are unable to find a consensus regarding the custody of their child, then the court will take the “best interest of the child” into account while awarding custody. 

Child custody options

Iowa law recognizes two aspects of child custody. These are the legal and physical custody. Legal custody has to do with making decisions such as healthcare, religion and education on behalf of the child. On the other hand, physical custody, also known as primary custody, has to do with where the child will live or spend their time. 

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court may award sole or joint custody to one of the parents. Sole custody means that only one parent will have a right to both physical and legal custody of the child.

Two factors the court will take into account while awarding sole custody

Here are two factors the court will take into account while awarding custody in Iowa:

  1. A history of domestic abuse: Any history of abuse or violence, protective orders, a 911 call regarding claims of domestic violence, an arrest or a conviction for domestic abuse – all play crucial roles in influencing the court’s custody ruling. A parent who has a history of violence may be deemed unfit for primary custody of the child.
  2. Abandonment: A parent may lose their right to physical custody if they abandoned the child or deserted the family home before the conclusion of the divorce proceeding.

Divorce or separation has far-reaching implications for everyone involved. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and the child’s best interests during the custody trial.