Providing Personal Attention to Protect Your Family & Future
Des Moines Child Custody Lawyer
Helping Clients Establish, Contest, Modify & Enforce Child Custody Orders
During a divorce, one of the most emotional and difficult issues that must be addressed is determining child custody. An experienced Des Moines child custody lawyer from our firm can effectively advocate for each client’s goals while always protecting their best interests.
Our family law attorneys can also help parents in situations where one party is wrongfully withholding parenting time or visitation from the other. Our child custody lawyers serving Des Moines are here in your time of need, contact our family law attorneys today.
Our firm helps clients with the following child custody orders below. Each of these has a different level of decision-making authority when it comes to the child's health, education, and welfare.
- Joint legal custody - both parents have legal authority to make decisions
- Sole legal custody - only one parent has authority
- Primary physical care - one parent has a right to provide a safe environment, shelter, clothing, and nutrition
- Shared physical care - both parents have the right to provide
- Interstate custody matter
Child custody orders are determined by several factors based on what is in the best interests of the child or children that are involved. While many child custody issues can be resolved through the collaborative process, negotiation, or mediation, it may become necessary to present the case before a judge due to differing opinions and goals of the parents involved. In these cases, our Des Moines child custody lawyers are ready to advocate for you.
The judge will use the following factors to determine what plan is best for the child(ren):
- What is in the best interests of the child(ren)
- The willingness of each parent to care for the child(ren)
- Any history of abuse, mental health issues, or criminal acts
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver of the child(ren)
Is Iowa a Mother or Father State?
Any court in Iowa will always decide custody based on what is in the best interests of the child. As long as the father has proven paternity, then he will receive the same rights to custody, support, and visitation as the mother would.
While dated ideologies have always shown women to have rights to children, more modern ways of thinking have helped fathers win cases in court. This is because it is clear how important the father is in a child's life. If you are a dad seeking custody of his child, speak with a Des Moines child custody lawyer at Family Law Solutions of Iowa.
What Is Considered an Unfit Parent in Iowa?
When fighting for custody, tensions will be on the rise between both parties. They may begin to compete for parental rights by accusing the other party of being unfit. An unfit parent is one who is unable to provide for the needs or care for the child.
The court places makes determinations based on the child's best interests, which is why this can be a serious threat. Any claims presented regarding the care of the child may be brought into investigation, so this is not a claim that should be made lightly. The judge may even assign a professional evaluator to review the allegations stated if necessary.
These are a few factors of what the judge may rule as an unfit parent:
- The parent has a history of domestic violence, substance or alcohol abuse
- The parent has a mental health disorder that inhibits them from carrying out their role as provider
- The parent has not shown interest in the child life, nor have they shown the willingness to resolve their issues with the other parent
If the court suspects or has determined any false claims, this may result in:
- Additional loss of custody
- Contempt of court charges
- Or criminal charges of custodial inference
At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?
When ruling a custody case, a judge may consider the wishes of the child if they are old enough and have good reason. The best interests of the child will always be the most important factor, especially if one parent shows characteristics of being "unfit".
Fighting for the Best Interests of Your Child In Des Moines, IA
When you call our firm to discuss the details of your child custody case, we are happy to schedule a free consultation with you. We sit down with each of our clients in order to talk about the individual details of your case and go over the best possible legal options available in order to reach a solid resolution.
If the other parent of your child is violating your parental rights, such as withholding visitation, we can fight on your behalf. Our child custody attorneys serving Des Moines can provide you with the caring and capable advocacy you need.
Medical Decisions Under Legal Custody
Medical decisions fall under a legal custody decision, which gives a parent the responsibility to make decisions on behalf of a child on issues such as medical issues, after-school activities, and religious participation.
It is very common to find that many parents are given joint legal custody over a child, meaning both parents have the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Neither parent is given superior rights over the other parent’s decision-making ability, meaning there can often be battles regarding these types of decisions. It is important to review your custody agreement if you are unsure of your responsibilities and rights as a parent.
Vaccination is a Joint Decision
In disputes over medical issues such as vaccinations, people can have a number of different reasons for why they believe what they do. If two parents disagree on whether or not vaccination is the correct decision, one possible solution is to try and work out some type of agreement on whether or not their child will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This can be done with the help of a family law attorney that understands custody agreements and negotiation.
If parents are unable to come to a solution regarding vaccination, the other option is to pursue legal action in court. A recent Iowa Court of Appeals decision acknowledged that the court can make a decision on this issue. If this is the case, it is wise to hire a child custody attorney near you to fight in court. As is true in custody cases, a judge will make a determination based on what is in the best interests of the child.
These guys were amazing to work with!
“I hired Gary for my divorce. They charged me a flat fee and set me up on a payment plan I could afford. They were with me taking me through step by step and communicated very well with me. I am so happy with every part of this process and would absolutely recommend them to anyone going through this. These guys were amazing to work with!”
Gary took the time to consult with me about a complicated situation!
“Gary took the time to consult with me about a complicated situation. He helped me understand my divorce decree more clearly including my rights.”
Gary genuinely cares about each and every client he represents.
“Gary goes above and beyond for a lawyer. He genuinely cares about each and every client he represents. He takes the time to figure out all the pieces of every puzzle and works hard to get the job done.”
Most importantly, I finally gained more time with my son.
“I wanted more time with my son. Since I wasn't able to obtain this on my own, I went to Gary for his legal expertise. Not only did I get that, he "held my hand" through the process giving me the reassurance and confidence that I needed. He was always there to talk to when I needed him to answer my questions. Most importantly, I finally gained more time with my son. I would recommend his services to anyone that needs it.”