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The Main Factors That Determine Child Custody in Iowa

If Iowa parents agree on a custody arrangement, they can formally request for the court to get involved and make the decision. Iowa courts will use the "best interest of the child" standard to make this decision. In order to determine what is best for the child, the court examines several factors. We discuss these factors and more below.

What Are the Types of Child Custody?

In Iowa, there are two aspects of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody means having the ability to make important life decisions for the child, like their medical care, education, school, and religion. Physical custody, which may also be called primary care, is where the child lives and spends their time.

Either form of custody can be awarded jointly or solely to the child's parents. Sole custody is when only one parent has a specific type of custody, while joint custody means both parents have the rights or responsibilities of raising the child.

What Does Iowa Consider When Awarding Custody?

In order to determine which parent will have physical and legal custody, the court will look at several factors in order to make their decision, with the ultimate goal being that the arrangement is in the child's best interests.

The court will look at the following factors:

  • Is there a history of domestic abuse?
  • Has a parent allowed a registered sex offender to have unsupervised access to their child?
  • Will the custody arrangement jeopardize anyone's safety in the household?
  • Would both parents be a good caregiver for their child?
  • How would a lack of contact with one parent impact the child and their development?
  • Do the parents support the relationship between the other parent and the child?
  • Can the parents communicate the child's needs to one another in an efficient manner?
  • What was the parent's relationship like before the separation or divorce?
  • What is the distance between the parent's homes?
  • Does one or both of the parents agree or disagree on joint custody?
  • Are there any other relevant factors that could impact custody?

Child custody cases in Iowa are difficult. It's essential to have sound guidance whenever you are dealing with family matters. The outcome of a child custody case can have a lasting impact on a parent and child's relationship. Hope Law Firm is here to help you through this challenging time.

Call (515) 298-5056 to speak to our West Des Moines child custody attorneys today.