Child Custody

For many people, child custody is their primary concern during the divorce process or custody case. In Iowa, there are generally two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody will address the rights and responsibilities as a parent. Parties may share joint legal custody, generally meaning they have equal legal rights to the children. The Judge may order that one parent have sole legal custody under appropriate circumstances. Physical Custody is generally who has the children in their care and how often. The Judge may order primary physical care to one parent and the other party may be granted visitation. The courts may also order that the parents share the children on a 50/50 schedule, often referred to as joint physical custody. There are many factors that the Judge may consider when determining custody. Having a knowledgeable attorney discuss these factors can be helpful in discussing which options are possible for both legal custody and physical custody.

If I have not been allowed to see my child, can I still request custody or visitation?

Generally, yes. The court will consider numerous factors when determining who should have custody and visitation. This may include the age of the child, the living arrangements of the parents, and why the contact has been denied.

What if we have an agreement for visitation but nothing has gone to court?

The agreement would not be court-enforceable unless a Judge has approved the agreement. If one parent decides they don’t want to follow the agreement, they generally are free to do so. Having a court order can help resolve disputes and protect parents from being denied access to the child.

What if one parent won’t let me see my child?

If one parent is denying contact between a child and a parent and a case is filed, the Judge may intervene and decide when each party will see the child. This may be on a temporary or permanent basis.

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