Child Custody Attorneys in Des Moines
How Is Custody Decided in Iowa?
When deciding on legal and physical custody in Iowa, the courts will evaluate many factors to determine whether or not it would be best for the child to live with both parents. For example, in a case where a parent was violent or abusive in the home, joint physical care would not be in the child's best interests.
When establishing the custody arrangement best for the child, the court will consider:
- The suitability of each parent to be a custodian
- The psychological and emotional development of the child
- The parents’ ability to communicate with each other about the child
- Each parent’s level of care for the child before and since the separation
- Whether each parent can support the other’s relationship with the child
- The child’s wishes, taking into account the child’s age and maturity
- Whether the parents agree to joint custody
- The geographic proximity of the parents
- The safety of the child or the other parent
Iowa law directs that when the court orders sole physical custody, it must also order liberal visitation rights for the noncustodial parent so that the child can have continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents. The court may restrict visitation if the court deems contact with the noncustodial parent is likely to harm the child.
Call our child custody lawyers in Des Moines at (515) 298-5056 for a free consultation.
Types of Child Custody in Iowa
In Iowa, there are two categories of rights and responsibilities that parents have regarding their minor children – legal custody and physical care.
Legal Custody in IA
Legal custody involves decision-making authority on issues that affect the child’s health, education, and welfare
- Sole legal custody - Only one parent has been given legal authority to make these important decisions.
- Joint legal custody -- Both parents are given the authority to make important decisions for the child's well-being. Iowa courts will tend to favor this arrangement if at all possible.
Iowa Physical Care Laws
- Physical care — The duty to provide a safe environment for the child that includes adequate shelter, clothing, and nutrition
- Joint physical care: Both parents have the right as well as the responsibility to provide a home for the child, routine care, and will both share parenting time. This arrangement tends to be favored as well, as it allows the child to maintain a bond and close relationship with each parent. The time spent with each parent may or may not be equal. In some cases, the courts may assign "primary physical care," where the child will live with that parent more often than the other. The other arrangement may be "joint physical care," which may be closer to an equal amount of time shared.
Protecting Parental Rights & Advancing Your Children’s Best Interests
Divorce can be very hard on your children, so when you have serious custody issues, your attorney must manage them with sensitivity and professionalism. At Hope Law Firm, we help parents assert their right to maintain a loving relationship with their children in a manner that truly advances the best interests of their children. We provide the information you need to select the best course of action for your circumstances, and we fight to achieve your goals.
When choosing a Des Moines child custody attorney, look for someone who is capable of asserting your rights, but is also motivated to protect your child from harm. At Hope Law Firm, we conduct ourselves professionally and implement strategies designed to minimize emotional turmoil for your child. When there is a clear danger of physical or emotional abuse, we help our clients obtain protective orders to safeguard their children. Hope Law Firm capably asserts your parental rights while safeguarding your child’s welfare. If you need advice on a custody issue, we are happy to offer a free consultation.
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