Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Iowa Joint Custody Legislation

Iowa is in the process of passing new joint custody legislation. Iowa Bill HF22 "would amend the Iowa Code by saying that if parents are awarded joint legal custody, the court shall (changed from may) award joint physical care to both parents, unless one parent objects and can provide clear and convincing evidence that the arrangement is unreasonable." It has now passed both the Iowa House and Senate.

This is a watershed event as even though there are states with presumptive joint custody laws, rarely is the language so strict. For example, here is Indiana's joint custody statute: "The court may award legal custody of a child jointly if the court finds an award of joint legal custody would be in the best interests of the child. An award of joint legal custody under section 13 of this chapter does not require an equal division of physical custody of the child." - You can see this nothing about this is presumptive, including joint legal custody.

The Iowa law still has to be signed by Governor Tom Vilsack. I strongly encourage you, regardless of where you live, to contact the Governor in support of this bill. You can contact him through his website or:
Office of the Governor
State Capitol
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Fax 515-281-6611

For more information on this bill you can visit which is a political action committee in Iowa.

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