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Iowa Child Custody Laws

The Hawkeye State can be a wonderful place to fall in love. Sadly, it can also be a place where we fall out of love. And if there are children involved in you and your ex’s falling out, you may be trying to figure out who will get custody. Every state has laws that regulate custody when a separating couple has shared minor children. This is an introduction to child custody laws in Iowa.

Child Custody Laws

Custody of minor children is generally determined by state child custody laws. While these statutes can vary depending on where you live, the majority of states have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act, so that each state's custody statutes are similar and recognize the same rights and responsibilities. Joint custody for separated parents is permitted under Iowa law, and grandparents have visitation rights. In addition, Iowa considers the wishes of the child in custody matters, though custody decisions will normally be made in the child's best interests.

Child Custody Statutes in Iowa

The chart below lists the details of Iowa's child custody statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 598.41: Custody of Children

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, §598.41(2)

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, §598.35

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Iowa Custody Hearings

There are some cases where the parents are able to agree to a custody arrangement on their own, and if the arrangement is in the child's best interests a court will normally accept such an agreement. If the parents cannot agree, however, a custody hearing in court may determine any contested custody issues.

During these hearings, the main concern in creating a custody arrangement will be the best interests of the child. Iowa courts are allowed consider any factor that might be relevant to a child's best interests, and generally place more influence on the factors that affect the child's safety and well-being. Many of these best-interest factors will focus on the child, like his or her relationship with any siblings and the need for consistency and continuity in his or her life. Other factors may focus on the parents, like which parent is more likely to take care of the child's daily physical, emotional, developmental, and educational needs.

Iowa Family Laws Related Resources:

Child custody matters are difficult, both emotionally and legally. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Child Custody. You can also consult with an Iowa family law attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a child custody issue.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

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  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Lawyers can seek to secure visitation rights

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