Child Custody

To schedule a case evaluation for child custody, click here:

There are two types of custody in the state of Iowa:


Legal Custody: Legal custody is the right of a parent to obtain access to the child's confidential information, including educational information such as school records, grades, attendance, and having the right to attend parent-teacher conferences, communicate with educators and make decisions about the child's education; medical information such as the names and addresses of doctors, dentists, and other health care providers, and the right to make or attend health care visits and make decisions about health care for the child; extra curricular activity information including decisions about what extra curricular activities the child participates in and the right to attend those activities; and religious information such as participating in the decisions regarding the child's participation in a religion or attending religious ceremonies.


Physical Custody: Physical custody is the right of a parent to have their child or children in their care. This designation includes primary physical care, meaning the parent with primary physical care is the parent that the child or children live with a majority of the time; visitation, meaning the parent with visitation has the child or children in their care on certain days and at certain times and while they must provide a safe place for the children to be while they are having their parenting time, the child or children are not considered to live with that parent; joint physical care, meaning that both parents have equal time with the child or children in their care and the child or children are considered to live with each parent.

When determining legal and physical custody of a child or children in the State of Iowa, the courts must look at what is in the best interest of the child or children. Just some of the factors that the courts look at when determining the best interest of the child or children include:

  • Which parent has primarily taken care of the child during the child's lifetime?

  • How do the parents get along with each other?

  • Is there a history of violence between the parents?

  • Is each parent stable in their living and/or work situation?

  • Does each parent support the child or children's relationship with the other parent?

  • how close do the parents live to each other?

  • are there half-siblings or step-siblings at either parent's home?