Cedar Rapids Child Custody Lawyers

Family law can get complex, and cases can quickly turn bitter if the involved parties are fighting over the aspects of a divorce. One of those aspects that is often tough to solve is child custody.

Generally, both parents want to be able to spend time with their children if they have decided to end their relationship or marriage. The most important part of the case is creating an arrangement that is best for the child, and that is where the courts will step in if needed to mediate that arrangement.

Having legal representation during this time may be vital to protecting your rights, and the team at Arenson Law Group, PC will handle your case with compassion and understanding. We have several years of family law experience behind us, and we’ll work with you and the other party to come up with a solution to your Cedar Rapids child custody case that ultimately provides the best scenario for your child. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 for a consultation with our legal team.

How an Attorney May Be Able to Help You in a Custody Battle

Divorces can get messy, even if the split is amicable. Both parents want to have time with their children, and disagreements about custody arrangements and child support may turn sour. Having an attorney on your side can aid in the negotiation process. Many times, the attorneys themselves work on an arrangement without the parents present and then take the proposed agreement back to the client for approval or further adjustments.

Your attorney will also be prepared in the event the case ends up before a judge and will handle details such as:

  • Assembling character witnesses
  • Presenting a strong case for your custody
  • Ensuring you get the child support you need to provide for the child(ren)

Types of Child Custody Agreements

Different types of child custody agreements exist so that the child can get the best outcome possible. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce or separation, there might be certain types of custody that are awarded to each parent or other family member. These types can include:

  • Visitation: This is often included to protect the rights of grandparents so that they can still see their grandchildren on a regular basis. It can also apply to a parent when their ex-spouse is awarded sole custody.
  • Grandparent custody: Sometimes, one or both parents may be deemed unfit for custody due to extenuating circumstances. In this case, custody may be awarded to the grandparents or other family members.
  • Legal custody: Parents may have legal rights to make long-term decisions for their child, even if the child is not with them at the time.
  • Physical custody: This determines which parent the child may live with on any given day. Joint physical custody is typically awarded when the parents both plan to live close to each other.
  • Sole custody: In many cases, one parent may end up with full custody of the child. This type is usually awarded when the other parent may be abusive, completely absent, or lives too far away to provide stability for the child.
  • Joint custody: The most common type of custody provides both parents with the right to physical custody of the child, legal custody of the child, or both.

How Custody Is Decided in Iowa

When the courts begin to assess custody arrangements, they look for various aspects in both parents’ lives to figure out the best arrangement for your child. Their goal is to provide your child with the most stable environment possible. The courts will evaluate your past as well – for example, if one of the parents has a history of domestic violence, they may decide it would not be in your child’s best interest to grant them physical custody.

Your attorney will present you in the best light that they can during this time. The court will look at factors such as:

  • Where each parent lives and how safe the child would be
  • The level of care each parent provided before and after the separation
  • How suitable each parent is to care for a child
  • What the child wants, factoring in both their age and level of maturity

Even if one parent is awarded sole custody, Iowa will often grant visitation rights to the parent without custody so the parent can remain a visible presence in their child’s life.

Determining Child Support in Iowa

According to the Iowa courts, parents are legally obligated to provide some kind of support for each child until their child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Support may also be extended for any child with physical or mental disabilities.

The amount of child support that you may end up paying is calculated by certain guidelines. The Iowa Supreme Court creates these guidelines, and they are reviewed every four years to ensure that they are fair. The guidelines include consideration for factors such as:

  • Incomes of both parents
  • Child care expenses
  • Amount of time the child is with each parent

If you are receiving alimony from the other parent, then Iowa will take that and add it to your monthly income before calculating any child support amounts. Parents are also required to provide medical support for their children. Each child support payment should be sent directly to the court clerk office or the Child Support Recovery Unit, rather than given directly to the other parent.

These orders are enforced through a number of ways, such as garnishment, liens, income withholding, or contempt of court. If the other parent is not paying you, then you can contact the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit for help enforcing child support orders. Your family law attorney in Cedar Rapids can assist you with this, as well, and help you take additional legal measures, if necessary.

The child support orders can be modified at any time through the courts if there is a change in circumstances like employment changes, inheritances, remarriage, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody

At Arenson Law Group, PC, our clients often have inquiries about child custody rights in Iowa and what factors may affect their case. While an attorney can answer all of the questions specific to your circumstances, we’ve provided answers to some of these popular questions below.

Can I ask to change a custody agreement later down the road?

It is not easy to change a custody agreement once it has been finalized. In order to change it, there must be a substantial change in your life or the other parent’s life. This change has to be something that was not considered by the courts in the original case, affects the well-being of your child, and is somewhat permanent. These changes may include a risk to your child’s safety, the death of a parent, a parent moving away, and more. An attorney can review the change in circumstances with you to help you determine whether or not the courts may consider it as a viable reason to change a custody arrangement.

My soon-to-be former spouse is not communicating with me. Will that information play out in my favor?

All factors will be considered in your case, including how well both parents communicate with each other and make joint decisions for the welfare of the child. The courts tend to look favorably on parents who put their children first in these situations, and if the other parent refuses to communicate with you, that could potentially be a positive for you.

Is it better to try and finalize everything outside of a courtroom?

We always recommend trying to come up with an agreement before heading into a courtroom battle. Your lawyer and the other parent’s lawyer will try to negotiate agreements in mediation, but you and the other parent must ultimately agree on everything. If you cannot reach an agreement together, then we will end up in the courtroom before a judge.

Can I be refused visitation rights?

The courts generally grant the non-custodial parent visitation rights, as it is believed that each parent should be involved and be present in their child’s life. Visitation rights are not usually refused unless you have a violent history, use illegal drugs, or have been marked as a flight risk to take your child out of state.

Do You Need a Child Custody Lawyer in Cedar Rapids? Call Us Now

At Arenson Law Group, PC, we have more than 15 years of experience when it comes to family law and child custody cases. Our attorneys will discuss your case with you and provide you with guidance whenever possible. We know this is a trying time for you, so we will try to communicate with you as much as we can and work to get the best outcome for your child and for you. If you are in Cedar Rapids or any of the surrounding areas in Iowa, call us today at (319) 363-8199 for an initial consultation about your case.