Iowa Family Law on Domestic Violence
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
Although the precise definition of domestic violence (referred to as "domestic abuse" in Iowa) varies from state to state, the crime generally encompasses abuse, or the threat of abuse, committed between household members. Committing acts of domestic violence can greatly impact an abuser's family law rights, most notably regarding child custody. This article outlines Iowa's main family laws on domestic violence.
The table below illustrates how domestic abuse is defined in Iowa.
|Iowa Code chapter 236: Domestic Abuse|
|Committing "assault" under any of the following circumstances:
Definition of "Assault"
|A person commits an assault when, without justification, the person does any of the following:
What Qualifies as an "Intimate Relationship?"
When determining whether two people are or have been in an intimate relationship, the court may consider the following:
Note that a person may be involved in an intimate relationship with more than one person at a time.
Domestic Abuse and Child Custody
Courts attempt to issue child custody awards in accordance with the best interests of the child. Where it is reasonable to do so, courts in Virginia award joint custody of the child to both parents so that the child will have continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
However, if the court finds that a history of domestic abuse exists, there is a rebuttable presumption against awarding joint custody. Additionally, if a parent is a victim of domestic abuse and moves or is absent from the family home out of fear of being abused by the other parent, the court won't consider the relocation or absence of that parent as a factor against that parent in awarding custody or visitation.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you are a domestic violence survivor there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911, and when you're safe contact the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- Domestic Violence Victim Resources
- Stopping Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney
Contact a qualified attorney.