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Child Custody in Iowa: Legal Custody and Physical Care

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Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging process. Couples who decided to end their marriage have to make plenty of decisions on top of dealing with the emotionally tense situation they are already dealing with. These considerations become even more difficult for couples who have children. Among such considerations is being able to agree on a child custody arrangement.

In Iowa, there are two general types of child custody arrangement. Divorcing parents can choose between legal custody and physical care or custody. They can come to an agreement about their child care arrangement on their own, or take the case to a judge if they are unable to come to an amicable agreement.

In the first option, parents with legal custody of a child earn the right to make decisions about important matters in the life of minor children. A parent with legal custody can decide on a child’s education, health care plan, and other crucial necessities and set ups. Divorcing parents can be granted joint legal custody—meaning that both spouses retain their legal right to make parental decisions—or sole legal custody. The latter option is usually applicable to situations involving domestic violence or abuse, where continuing contact with the other parent can be harmful for the child.

On the other hand, through a physical care or physical custody arrangement, the court names one parent as solely responsible for primary physical care. This means the child will be living with one parent for majority of the time, while the other parent gets visitation rights. Physical custody is typically awarded to the parent considered to be the primary caretaker during the marriage. There are also instances when a judge rules for a joint physical custody arrangement and allows both parents equal amounts of time with their children. This decision will depend on a few factors, including the parents’ ability to be cordial and respectful of each other.

Divorcing parents have plenty to consider as they go through the end of their marriage. Sometimes, these considerations involve difficult decisions that are best left to the court. In cases of child custody disagreements, Iowa residents can ease the process and learn more about their legal options by contacting a divorce lawyer in Cedar Rapids.

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