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Serving Iowa Families Statewide

Child Relocation under Iowa Custody Laws

A child custody arrangement approved and filed with a family court basically serves as a court order. Violating such an order can put you into legal trouble. When it comes to relocating away from your existing residence where you have custody, it is not something you can do on your own. You cannot violate the parental rights of the other parent if he or she also has been granted custody rights by the court.

Under Iowa custody laws, you cannot move 150 miles away or more from the home named in your shared custody arrangement. If, for some reason, you wish to relocate beyond this distance, you will have to get the agreement of the child’s other parent to do so. If the other parent disagrees with this move, then the issue must go before a family court to decide.

Reasons to Relocate with Your Child

In many instances, a parent has valid and constructive reasons for such a relocation. These can include:

  • A job offer that is an improvement on your current employment or status
  • Your remarriage where your child will be integrated into a new family unit and home
  • A move that puts you near extended family where you and your child will receive valuable emotional or financial support
  • A move to a location where you can afford to buy a home
  • A move that gives you or your child better educational opportunities or advantages

In other words, these types of reasons for a relocation could be beneficial to your child. However, a move away from the other parent could also have a negative emotional impact on the child, especially if the child is close to the other parent. There is also the consideration of the distance that the child would have to travel between locations; this could become difficult or financially burdensome. The purpose of joint custody is to give the child the stability of having both parents involved in his or her life; it generally ensures a continuing and meaningful relationship that could be substantially upset should a relocation occur.

Court Rulings

To be granted the right to relocate, you will have to demonstrate to the court that a major change of circumstances has occurred in your life since custody was last established. This major change requires such a move. The burden of proof will rest on you. If the court decides in your favor, it may do so by requiring certain conditions be met so that the relationship the child has with the other parent is maintained as much as possible. To effect that, the court may require that the non-moving party be granted full visitation during summer breaks and/or certain holidays, that a schedule is set up and followed for frequent phone calls, face time, or zoom meeting between the child and the non-moving parent, or that the moving parent be required to fund the expenses or means for the child’s travel time.

When a request for relocation is submitted to the court, it will then engage in hearing the evidence and testimony from both sides, make a determination on what best serves the child, and issue a new court order based on its findings.

Hope Law Firm Can Help

Child custody issues such as relocation can be challenging and complicated. Whether you are the moving or non-moving parent, you should engage the services of a qualified lawyer who can argue your case in the most effective manner in court. At Hope Law Firm, our legal team has decades of professional experience handling this and all other complex family law issues. We will work with diligence and determination to protect your parental rights as we help you pursue a favorable outcome.

Need to discuss your case with a professional? Call us at (515) 305-2772 to arrange for a consultation with a lawyer. We serve clients in Des Moines and throughout the state.