Iowa Child Custody Factors

In Iowa, the court shall consider the following factors when making a custody decision:

1.  Whether each parent would be a suitable custodian for the child.

2.  Whether the psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will suffer due to lack of active contact with and attention from both parents.

3.  Whether the parents can communicate with each other regarding the child’s needs.

4.  Whether both parents have actively cared for the child before and since the separation.

5.  Whether each parent can support the other parent’s relationship with the child.

6.  Whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the child’s wishes or whether the child has strong opposition, taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity.

7.  Whether one or both the parents agree or are opposed to joint custody.

8.  The geographic proximity of the parents.

9.  Whether the safety of the child, other children, or the other parent will be jeopardized by the awarding of joint custody or by unsupervised or unrestricted visitation.

10.  Whether a history of domestic abuse exists. (Iowa Code - Section 598.41)

In Iowa, as with all other states, the court will always be looking out for the best interests of the children. What you want or your spouse wants is not really relevant until the court says it is. Many parents go to custody hearings not realizing that they must portray themselves as the best custodial parent rather pleading to the court that they simply deserve the children. The court would much prefer the parents to decide who should have custody, but if they can’t, the court will do it for them. You can also read more about Iowa child custody in the Iowa state statutes located at: