Child Custody

Child Custody Lawyers in Des Moines, Iowa

What Do Iowa Courts Consider When Awarding Child Custody in Iowa?

Prepared To Fight For Your Parental Rights

Mother with custody of her daughter

How are child custody cases decided in Iowa? Every state has its own particular set of guidelines; however, the main factor in any child custody case continues to be what is in the best interests of the child.

Sometimes parents can work out many of their matters without needing to bring the matter to court. Mediation, for example, provides a confidential platform for parents to negotiate and work out their own arrangements for child custody and other such matters. A judge would only need to approve the arrangements on the basis that the decisions have been made in the child’s best interests.

What Are the Factors that an Iowa Court Considers When Determining Custody?

In Iowa, thecourts tend to favor awarding joint custody, if possible, since that is often in the child’s best interests. Rights and responsibilities of joint legal custodial include equal participation in decisions affecting the child’s legal status, medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious instruction.

These are the following factors that the courts consider in creating custody orders:

  • The child’s age, mental, and physical health
  • The child’s educational, social, emotional, material, and healthcare needs
  • The relative stability of each parent
  • Whether the parents can effectively communicate
  • Whether each parent can support the other parent's relationship with the child
  • The relationship the child has between his or her parents and siblings
  • Whether or not the parent has committed anything morally objectionable, such as having a history of alcohol or drug abuse or domestic abuse
  • The long-term effects that the custody arrangements will have on the child

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for Child Custody Cases?

During divorce and child custody disputes, many parents worry they will not have the parenting time they need to maintain strong bonds with their children. It is at this point that many may consider hiring a divorce lawyer who can assess the details of their case and help them know how to proceed so that they can obtain the outcome they want.

Discover why it is so important to hire a divorce attorney by clicking here.

At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, we understand how important parenting time is to develop and nurture parent-child relationships. Located in West Des Moines, our child custody lawyers work hard to get clients the custody and visitation orders they need to protect their parental rights.

Call (515) 200-7571 or contact us online for help with your child custody case. 

How Is Child Custody Determined in Iowa?

In Iowa, there are two types of custody:

  • Physical custody refers to the amount of time children and parents spend together.
  • Legal custody refers to each parent's power to make decisions regarding the health, education, and general welfare of his or her child.

In Iowa, there is no presumption of joint custody. Instead, parents must petition the court for joint physical care. Judges then make custody and visitation determinations based on the best interests of the child.

When children are born outside of marriage, additional steps must be taken to establish paternity before fathers have custody rights to their children. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, our family lawyers in Des Moines, Iowa help fathers establish their paternal rights.

Where to File for Custody Near Des Moines

If you're wondering where to file for custody near you in the Des Moines area, you would file in Judicial District 8. Even though you can file on your own, you may want to have an attorney review your forms since this could dictate the future of your custody ruling.

Establishing a Parenting Plan

Parenting plans are often complex documents used to determine custody and visitation schedules. While they must clearly dictate how parenting time is shared, transportation schedules, how school events will be attended, and where children will spend weekends and holidays, they must be flexible enough to accommodate the realities of life.

At What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With in Iowa?

A child in Iowa does not have the final say on which parent they want to live with in Iowa. If the child is under the age of 18, then the courts will make the ultimate decision on which parent has custody of the child. However, if the judge believes the child is mature enough and has not been manipulated by the parents or relatives, the child’s preference might be considered when determining the custody order.

Is Iowa a Mother State?

In Iowa, the courts do not give preference to the mother for custody simply because she is the mother. Rather, mothers and fathers have equal standing when petitioning for custody rights. The courts will determine custody based on what is best for the child, which will depend on a variety of factors.

Unstable Parent Custody

Since custody is decided based on the best interest of the child, a parent that is the primary physical caregiver may not end up being awarded primary custody if they demonstrate that they are unstable. Judges will not only look at instances of physical abuse, substance abuse, and neglect, but they will also look at the impacts of parental behavior on the child. So, if a parent is behaving in potentially harmful, erratic ways, they may end up not being awarded custody.

For this reason, it’s important that you maintain a healthy, stable environment if you are going to argue that your children should be in your primary care.

Understanding Visitation Rights in Iowa

When it comes to child custody cases, visitation rights are an important aspect to consider. In Iowa, the courts aim to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to maintain a meaningful relationship with their child, even if they do not have primary physical custody. Understanding visitation rights and the factors that Iowa courts consider when determining visitation schedules can help you navigate the child custody process with confidence.

Key points to consider about visitation rights in Iowa include:

  • The importance of promoting a healthy relationship between the child and both parents
  • The flexibility of visitation schedules to accommodate the child's best interests
  • The role of mediation and negotiation in establishing visitation agreements
  • The possibility of modifying visitation schedules based on changing circumstances

Our experienced Des Moines child custody lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw can provide guidance and support in navigating visitation rights and ensuring that your parental rights are protected throughout the child custody process.

Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with our West Des Moines child custody lawyers! Call (515) 200-7571 today! 

Protecting Your Parental Rights

As a parent, you have the right to establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with your child. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, we will help you protect that right. Our West Des Moines child custody attorneys are dedicated and skilled professionals.

We are always prepared for a fight and use every legal tool available to protect our clients' parent-child bonds. Connect with our Des Moines child custody attorneys today for a free consultation. 

Your Legal Advocates in West Des Moines Contact Us at (515) 200-7571 Today