When parents are separated, the most important decision that needs to be made is who will have custody of the child and when. Child custody can be a contentious family issue because each parent has parental rights and wants to make sure their parental rights are enforced. Every parent wants what’s best for their child, but both parents’ ideas of what’s best for their child can conflict.

Child custody and visitation agreements generally cover everything pertaining to the child, and each parent must abide by those agreements. Custody orders are enforced by the law. But sometimes, the law and custody orders don’t address specific scenarios. If you are sharing custody of your child with the other parent or have visitation orders and have questions regarding your parental rights, you need an experienced family law attorney to help untangle the issues.

Child Custody and Visitation

When deciding on child custody and visitation, the court has one main objective: to do what is in the best interest of the child and what best supports their welfare.

Parents may be awarded legal custody, where they have the authority to make decisions as to the child’s welfare, such as where they will go to school, where they’ll get their medical care, and what religious practices they’ll engage in. In specific cases, the court may find that one parent is unfit to be awarded legal custody, in which case one parent will be awarded sole custody of the child.

Courts typically aim to award both parents legal custody, recognizing that it is generally in the child’s best interest for the child to have “maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents.” Courts determine which parent will be awarded custody of their child based on several factors, the most important of which are considerations that reflect the best interests of the child and the parents’ abilities to communicate about the child.

In Iowa, the courts also determine with which parent the child will reside. This is known as “physical placement.” One or both parents could be given physical care of the child. The custodial parent is with whom the child will live most of the time, but even in cases of joint custody, both parents have equal rights to the child’s physical care.

If you’re awarded joint physical care of the child, then you and the other parent will have to submit to the court a joint physical care parenting plan. In that plan, you and the other parent will detail how you will share physical care of the child, when each parent will have the child with them, and how you will communicate with each other and facilitate each other’s time with the children. If one parent is awarded sole physical care of the child, the other parent still retains their right to time with the child and their right to legal custody of the child (if it was awarded to them).

So, Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?

The short answer: it depends. It depends on what was stipulated in the custody arrangement agreement. Unless a parent’s rights to legal custody were rejected due to a history of abuse or because their contact with the child would result in physical or emotional harm to the child, then a parent isn’t typically prohibited from contacting their child. Your parental rights include the right to contact your child even when they are in the physical care of their other parent. If you are concerned about your ability to communicate with your child when they are not in your care, then you should contact an attorney. You may need to petition the court for a modification of your custody or visitation agreement.

Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC?

Our family law attorneys have years of experience representing clients in various family law matters, including divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation. We are admitted to practice law in the state of Iowa and are members of the Iowa State Bar Association. We believe in advocating for our clients’ best interests with compassion, and our commitment is to help them reach their legal goals in their cases.

Call Us Today

If you have concerns and questions about your child custody arrangement or are concerned about your parental rights, contact Arenson Law Group, PC today at (319) 363-8199 to speak with one of our experienced divorce attorneys. We are here to help you.

Written by James H. Arenson

Last Updated : January 20, 2023