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Iowa Child Support Guidelines

Parents are required to support their minor children, whether they remain together as a couple or not. Each state sets guidelines for determining parental financial obligations under any child support arrangement. The guidelines of every state consider a parent's income in determining what a parent must pay under any child support arrangement.

child support order in Iowa is a court order that indicates the following:

  • Which parent must pay for child support
  • The payment amount
  • How often the payment is to be made
  • Who is to receive the payment

Typically, child support comes in the form of money paid by the parent who spends less time with the child to the other parent. The amount of time each parent spends with the child is figured into calculating the payments. Read on to learn more about child support guidelines in Iowa.

How to Request Child Support in Iowa

There are several ways a parent can request child support, but the majority of cases begin with an Application for Nonassistance Support Services, which is submitted to the parent's local Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit. Child support is then calculated based upon a mathematical formula combined with a number of additional factors, such as the income of the parents, who has the majority of the physical custody of the child, and any special needs. Once the calculations are complete, a child support order is issued by a judge.

Iowa Child Support Guidelines

The following table outlines child support guidelines in Iowa.

Who Is Responsible?

Both parents are required to provide support for their child(ren). Iowa Chapter 9.3

How Is Support Calculated?

Child support is calculated based upon a percentage of the combined gross income of both parents after deductions for things such as federal and state income taxes, mandatory pension plans, mandatory occupational license fees, union dues, legal obligations for child or spousal support which existed prior to the current case, medical support paid for another child, and child care expenses of the employed custodial parent (less any tax credits).

Deductions do not apply for things such as car payments, housing costs, credit union payments, charitable deductions, and voluntary plans such as savings plans.

Public assistance payments do not count towards a parent's income. Iowa Chapter 9.5

What Is Included in a Support Order?

Child support covers food, shelter, clothing, care, medical or hospital(including medical support), confinement, education, funeral, and other reasonable and proper expenses based upon the parties' circumstances. Iowa Chapter 9.11

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

Until child turns 18, or 19 if the child still attends high school. Child support continues indefinitely if the child cannot support themselves due to a physical or mental disability. Iowa Code 598.1(9)


The parent may be charged with contempt and the court may require the posting of a cash bond. If child support arrearages are not paid within 3 months, the bond is forfeited to cover those payments as well as any future payments. The court may also order community service for up to 20 hours per week for 6 weeks, suspend the parent's license(s), or issue an order requiring the parent to look for work.

The court may seize money in bank accounts or federal and state tax refunds, garnish wages, or withhold income to help pay for child support arrearages.

The term "license" includes licenses issued to practice an occupation, operate a motor vehicle, or enjoy recreational activities such as hunting or fishing.

In addition, the court may alter visitation rights and custody, require a neutral party to be present during visitation, and impose required mediation. Iowa Code 598.23

Local Resources

Iowa Department of Human Services

Iowa Child Support Guidelines Handbook

Iowa Child Support Estimator

Iowa Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

Figuring out child support guidelines can be difficult. If you would like legal assistance with a child support matter, you can contact an Iowa family law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's sections on Child SupportChild Support Modification, and Child Support Enforcement for more articles and information on this topic.

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