Child custody

Determining what’s best for your children

A breakup involving kids can become nasty and contentious. Sometimes one parent may try to use the children to “get back at” the other parent by interfering with visits, withholding the children and even worse.

Although Iowa law is becoming more receptive to equal shared care, sometimes the children are best served by living with one parent the majority of the time. Legue Law can help you resolve the thorny issues of custody and parenting time.

In Iowa, the court determines what sort of caregiving arrangement will be in the “best interests of the children,” which is a legal term of art. “Custody” means the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of the children — their education, medical treatment, legal status, extracurricular activities and religious instruction. This legal concept is different from “physical care,” which is the amount of time the children will spend with each parent: whether they will live with one more than the other or whether they will share time between households equally. Often these two concepts get confused, even by attorneys and judges.

Except in rare instances, the courts usually order parents to share equally in the important decisions for the children. This is known as joint legal custody. When it comes to physical care arrangements, courts can order just about anything that makes sense in a particular situation. But judges must weigh a number of factors, such as the past practices of the couple, the age and maturity of the kids, their specific needs and the personalities of the parents. Many other factors can be considered as well. Because there are so many competing factors, you need a competent attorney to help you present your best arguments for custody and physical care to the court. That’s where Legue Law can help.

  • Judges decide initial custody by determining what “the best interests of the children” are, a legal standard that can mean different things to different people.
  • Neither mother or father are favored in an initial custodial decision, but the court instead determines the best interests of the children in each individual case.
  • Custodial decisions, once ordered, are very difficult to change. However, Iowa law provides ways to modify custody even after it has been established.

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