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Iowa Family Law

Iowa Family Law

Iowa Family Law: A Comprehensive Guide

Family law is an area of legal practice that concerns family-related issues and domestic relations. It covers a wide range of topics such as marriage dissolution, custody and visitation, adoption, and child support, among others. In Iowa, family law disputes are handled by the Iowa Code and the Iowa court system. This article provides a comprehensive guide to Iowa family law and discusses essential information for anyone facing family-related legal issues.

Overview of Iowa Family Law

Iowa family law is a complex and ever-evolving system that regulates family relationships and related disputes. Iowa family law addresses matters that arise in family relationships, including divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, adoption, and domestic violence. Family law proceedings are conducted in district courts, and parties generally have a right to a trial by a judge or jury. In Iowa, a jury may be requested in a dissolution case, but otherwise, the judge will make the final decision.

Divorce in Iowa

In Iowa, divorce is referred to as a dissolution of marriage. Iowa is a no-fault divorce state, which means that either spouse can petition for divorce without having to prove fault. However, there must be a finding by the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The parties must also meet specific residency requirements before filing for divorce in Iowa.

In Iowa, the court may grant both no-fault and fault-based divorces, including those based on adultery, cruelty, and abandonment. In a fault-based divorce, the conduct of the spouse who caused the marriage to fail may be considered in the court’s determination of property division, alimony, and child custody.

Child Custody and Visitation

In Iowa, child custody and visitation are decided based on the best interests of the child. The court considers various factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests, including the age and health of the child, the relationship between the child and each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs, the child’s preference, and any history of abuse or neglect.

Iowa law recognizes two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the physical care and control of the child. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s welfare, including education, healthcare, and religion.

In Iowa, visitation is referred to as “parenting time.” The parent who does not have physical custody is entitled to reasonable parenting time, unless the court determines that such parenting time would endanger the child’s physical, mental or emotional health and well-being.

Child Support

In Iowa, child support is determined by the Iowa Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines use a formula based on the parents’ income, the number of children involved, and other factors to calculate the amount of child support to be paid. The amount of child support can vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, may be granted in Iowa if the court determines that one spouse is financially dependent on the other. The court may consider several factors in deciding whether to award spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

Property Division

In a divorce, marital property is divided equitably in Iowa. Marital property includes all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage, except for gifts or inheritances received by one spouse. The court may consider several factors in determining how to divide marital property, including each party’s contribution to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the future financial needs of each spouse.


Adoption is a legal process that creates a permanent parent-child relationship. In Iowa, adoption may be granted by the court if the biological parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights or if those rights have been terminated involuntarily. In some cases, adoption may also be granted to a stepparent or another relative.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that can impact the entire family. In Iowa, domestic violence victims may seek protection through a protection order, also known as a restraining order. A protection order can prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim, going near the victim’s home or workplace, and possessing weapons. If a protection order is violated, the abuser can be arrested and face criminal charges.


Family law is an intricate system that governs relationships between members of a family. In Iowa, family law disputes are handled by the Iowa Code and the Iowa court system. To ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is essential to obtain legal counsel from an experienced family law attorney. This guide provides an overview of some of the essential aspects of Iowa family law, but it is not a substitute for legal advice. If you are facing family-related legal issues in Iowa, consult with an attorney who will help you navigate the complex system and protect your interests.

Quick Guide to Iowa Family Laws 

Where can I find a complete listing of Iowa Family Laws?

If you are looking for revised code involving Iowa family law, you should visit the following website under the Iowa State Legislature:

You will find helpful information for searching the entire list IA family law at the end of this article, and this article will also guide the reader through commonly accessed chapters of Iowa family law such as marriage, divorce, adoption, child support, and more.  If you are researching Iowa family laws for help with a legal matter, you should contact an attorney right away.

Specific Iowa Family Laws

After clicking on the link listed above, you can begin your search for some of the most requested Iowa family law sections with the help of this article.  This section will help you travel to some important sections of IA family law quickly without having to search through the entire list of codes:

Chapter 600 Adoptions

This section describes IA family law and procedure for virtually any kind of adoption.  There are guidelines for a general adoption procedure, qualifying factors for filing a petition, financial assistance, and much more.  For information on foreign and international adoptions, visit section 600.15 of the Iowa family laws.

Chapter 598 Dissolution of Marriage and Domestic Relations

A large percentage of this chapter covers general procedures and Iowa family law for temporary orders, spousal support, division of property, paternity, child support, and much more.  You can find information about alternative forms of settlement besides a divorce hearing, and you can also find information on grounds for divorce within this IA family law.  If you are viewing this section of Iowa family law for legal help, you should contact a family law attorney right away.

Chapter 595 Marriage

This chapter of Iowa family law provides all laws for prerequisites, unlawful marriages, and procedures for marriage licenses.  You should reference section 595.3A for information on obtaining marriage licenses.

Chapter 600BPaternity and Obligation for Support

This chapter of Iowa family laws provides guidelines for establishing paternity and how those guidelines will affect child support.  This section of IA family law also provides information on issuing a bond in lieu of based child support payments.

How to Search Iowa Family Law

Consider the follow search techniques while researching Iowa family laws.  These search techniques will work for this website as well.

1. Stemming- this technique includes adding suffixes onto your search, such as divorces, divorcing, divorced, or more

2. Wildcards- a wildcard allows you to search multiple words using an asterisk, and adopt* will usually bring you to adopted, adoption, adopting, adoptive, adoptable, and more.

3. Missing variables- you can search for a missing variable with a question mark, and wom?n will bring results associated with woman, women, and more

4. Boolean Operators- you should always consider using and, or, and not to limit your searches as well within IA family law

Of course, searching for a specific term will limit your search and bring you closer to what you’re looking for, but if you’re having trouble finding a term, you can use the methods above for searching Iowa family laws.