If you are facing the end of your marriage and you have minor children, you are likely wondering how divorce will affect your custody rights. At Simpson Legal Group, LLC, we represent parents throughout the divorce process and help them maintain their relationship with their children. The good news is that the state of Iowa as a whole promotes children having a relationship with both parents whenever feasible. Custody, however, is broken down into two different categories, legal custody, and physical placement.
When you have custody of a child, you have the legal right to make certain decisions regarding that child’s well-being, including their medical care, education, and religious instruction. The courts in Iowa prefer to give parents joint custody and will consider doing so whenever either party requests it. However, there is no guarantee that it will be awarded.
Joint custody means that each parent has an equal right to make important decisions regarding their child(ren), but it does not mean that each parent is entitled to equal amounts of time spent with the child(ren). When courts do not feel that joint custody is appropriate, they can award one parent sole custody, which means that just one parent has the right to make important life decisions for the child(ren).
Factors the Court Considers When Awarding Custody
The court will typically respect any type of custody arrangement the parties are able to reach amongst themselves. However, when negotiations reach an impasse, the court is then able to hear from both parties and issue a ruling on how issues of custody will be settled. While each case is different, some of the issues the court will consider when deciding custody are:
- Each parent’s involvement with the child(ren);
- The ages of the child(ren);
- The health of the child(ren) and whether or not they have any special needs;
- The stability of each parent and their ability and willingness to provide for the child(ren);
- How supportive each parent is of the child(ren)’s relationship with the other parent;
- The wishes of the child(ren) (depends on age and maturity level, and not a standard consideration);
- Who else lives in the homes of the parents
The most important consideration is always what is in the best interest of the child(ren).
Who the children are physically placed with is different from legal custody. Just because one parent has been awarded sole custody does not mean the children spend all their time with them. Instead, the court will order a physical placement for the child, which is where they will live on a regular basis. The parties may even be awarded joint physical placement.
Confer With A Custody Rights Attorney at Simpson Legal Group, LLC
Just because your marriage is ending does not mean you have to lose custody of your children. At Simpson Legal Group, LLC, we are legal professionals who help our clients understand and protect their relationship with their children, even when their marriage ends. Contact our firm today by calling 712-256-9899 or via our contact page.