Equal Joint Custody After Divorce Bill Being Considered in Iowa

  • Fathers are parents regardless of their marital status and are needed in their child's life.
  • Lawmakers in Iowa are discussing legislation that would create an equal custody presumption for parents going through a divorce.
  • The legislation also would require a detailed parenting plan, regarding the child.

If you are a parent knee-deep in the divorce experience, you already understand what is at stake. Not only are you facing the uncertainty of losing a substantial amount of your life’s work, but more importantly, you could be losing your children to your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

You do not want to give up your role as an active and loving parent in their lives, and you should not have to. You should be able to take them to school, have meals with them, help them with their homework and tuck them in at night, regardless of your marital status or relationships with their other parent.

You need to be proactive in establishing that role in your child’s life. That starts with contacting a family law attorney, who focuses on the rights of fathers and understands what men face during the divorce experience. They will be able to assist you in your unique situation and help you achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

In many areas of the country, legislative officials are working toward creating a more equal family law precedent that would overrule any outdated stereotypes that currently may exist in family courts. The most recent of states to consider legislation is Iowa.

The bill

The bill, SF 571, states that family courts may assure the child maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, provided that it is in the best interests of the child.

The bill also states that both parents will share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child, unless there is a danger of direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the child.

SF 571 also looks to protect parents who have been illegally denied parenting time with their children. It states that family courts shall consider the denial by one parent of the child’s opportunity for maximum continuing contact with the other parent, without just cause, a significant factor in determining the proper custody arrangement.

Under the bill, the family court shall require both of the parents to submit either individually or jointly, a proposed joint physical care parenting plan that shall address how the parents will make decisions affecting the child, how the parents will provide a home for the child, how the child’s time will be divided between the parents, and how each parent will facilitate the child’s time with the other parent.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

The parenting plan

The proposed joint physical care parenting plan also would mandatorily include child support for the child’s expenses, as well as how the parents will resolve major changes or disagreements regarding age and developmental needs.

The bill has been considered in a committee in the Iowa state Senate and now is being discussed by the full state Senate. The state of Iowa previously has attempted legislation related to child custody presumption in 2011 and 2016.

The child

This prospective legislation will give fathers in Iowa the opportunity to be just as active and engaged in their child’s life as they previously were. Children need to be able to count on their fathers, and through legislative efforts, children in Iowa will receive equal parenting time with both of their parents.

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