CHAPTER 598 DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS
As used in this chapter:
1."Best interest of the child" includes,
but is not limited to, the opportunity for maximum continuous
physical and emotional contact possible with both parents,
unless direct physical or significant emotional harm to the
child may result from this contact. Refusal by one parent
to provide this opportunity without just cause shall be
considered harmful to the best interest of the child.
2."Dissolution of marriage" means a termination of the marriage
relationship and shall be synonymous with the term "divorce".
3."Joint custody" or "joint legal custody" means an award
of legal custody of a minor child to both parents jointly
under which both parents have legal custodial rights and
responsibilities toward the child and under which neither
parent has legal custodial rights superior to those of the
Rights and responsibilities of joint legal custody
include, but are not limited to, equal participation in
decisions affecting the child's legal status, medical care,
education, extracurricular activities, and religious
4."Joint physical care" means an award
of physical care of a minor child to both joint legal
custodial parents under which both parents have rights and
responsibilities toward the child including, but not limited
to, shared parenting time with the child, maintaining homes
for the child, providing routine care for the child and under
which neither parent has physical care rights superior to
those of the other parent.
5."Legal custody" or "custody" means an
award of the rights of legal custody of a minor child to a
parent under which a parent has legal custodial rights and
responsibilities toward the child. Rights and
responsibilities of legal custody include, but are not limited
to, decision making affecting the child's legal status,
medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and
7."Physical care" means the right and responsibility to
maintain a home for the minor child and
provide for the routine care of the child.
8."Postsecondary education subsidy"
means an amount which either of the parties may be required to
pay under a temporary order or final judgment or decree for
educational expenses of a child who is between the ages of
eighteen and twenty-two years if the child is regularly
attending a course of vocational-technical training either as
a part of a regular school program or under special
arrangements adapted to the individual person's needs; or is,
in good faith, a full-time student in a college, university,
or community college; or has been accepted for admission to a
college, university, or community college and the next regular
term has not yet begun.
9."Support" or "support payments" means an amount which
the court may require either of the parties to pay under a
temporary order or a final judgment or decree, and may include
alimony, child support, maintenance, and any other term used
to describe these obligations. For orders entered on or after
July 1, 1990, unless the court specifically orders otherwise,
medical support is not included in the monetary amount of
child support. The obligations shall include support for
a child who is between the ages of eighteen and
nineteen years who is
engaged full-time in completing high school graduation or
equivalency requirements in a manner which is reasonably
expected to result in completion of the requirements prior to
the person reaching nineteen years of age; and may include
support for a child of any age who is dependent on the parties
to the dissolution proceedings because of physical or mental
598.2 Jurisdiction and venue.
The district court has original
jurisdiction of the subject matter of this chapter. Venue shall be in the
county where either party resides.
H3>598.2A Choice of law.
In a proceeding to establish, modify, or enforce a child
support order the forum state's law shall apply except as
1. In interpreting a child support order, a court shall
apply the law of the state of the court or administrative
agency that issued the order.
2. In an action to enforce a child support order, a court
shall apply the statute of limitations of the forum state or
the state of the court or administrative agency that issued
the order, whichever statute provides the longer period of
598.3 Kind of action--joinder.
An action for dissolution of marriage shall be by equitable proceedings,
and no cause of action, save for alimony, shall be joined therewith. Such
actions shall not be subject to counterclaim or cross petition by the respondent.
After the appearance of the respondent, no dismissal of the cause of action
shall be allowed unless both the petitioner and the respondent sign the dismissal.
598.4 Caption of petition for dissolution.
The petition for dissolution of marriage shall be captioned substantially
In the District Court of the State of Iowa
In and For . . . . . . County
In Re the Marriage of
. . . . . . and . . . . . .
598.5 Contents of petition.
The petition for dissolution of marriage shall:
1. State the name, birth date, address and county of
residence of the petitioner and the name and address of the
2. State the place and date of marriage of the parties.
3. State the name, birth date, address and county of
residence, if known, of the respondent.
4. State the name and age of each minor child by date of birth whose welfare
may be affected by the controversy.
5. State whether or not a separate action for dissolution
of marriage or child support has been commenced
and whether such action is pending in any court in
this state or elsewhere. State whether the entry of an order
would violate 28 U.S.C. § 1738B. If there is an existing
child support order, the party shall disclose identifying
information regarding the order.
6. Allege that the petition has been filed in good faith and for the purposes
set forth therein.
7. Allege that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship
to the extent that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed
and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
8. Set forth any application for temporary support of the petitioner and
any children without enumerating the amounts thereof.
9. Set forth any application for permanent alimony or support, child custody,
or disposition of property, as well as attorneys' fees and suit money, without
enumerating the amounts thereof.
10. State whether the appointment of a conciliator pursuant to section
598.16 may preserve the marriage.
598.6 Additional contents.
Except where the respondent is a resident of this state and is served by
personal service, the petition for dissolution of marriage, in addition to
setting forth the information required by section 598.5, must state that the
petitioner has been for the last year a resident of the state, specifying the
county in which the petitioner has resided, and the length of such residence
therein after deducting all absences from the state; and that the maintenance
of the residence has been in good faith and not for the purpose of obtaining a
marriage dissolution only.
The petition must be verified by the petitioner, and its allegations
established by competent evidence.
598.7A Domestic relations
In addition to the custody mediation provided pursuant to
section 598.41, unless the court determines that a history of
domestic abuse exists as specified in section 598.41,
subsection 3, paragraph "j", or unless the court determines
that direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the
child, other children, or a parent is likely to result, or
unless the action involves a child support or medical support
obligation enforced by the child support recovery unit, on the
application of either party or on the court's own motion, the
court shall determine in each domestic relations
proceeding or modification of any order relating to those
proceedings whether the parties to the proceeding shall
participate in mediation to attempt to resolve differences
between the parties
intervention. The court may order participation in mediation
at any time prior to the entering of a final order or the
granting of a final decree.
The costs of mediation shall be paid in full or in part by
the parties, as determined by the court and taxed as court
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2,
hearings for dissolution of marriage shall be held in open
court upon the oral testimony of witnesses, or upon the
depositions of such witnesses taken as in other equitable
actions or taken by a commissioner appointed by the court.
The court may in its discretion close the
hearing. Hearings held for the purpose of determining child
custody may be limited in attendance by the court.
Upon request of either party, the court shall provide
security in the courtroom during the custody hearing
if a history of domestic abuse relating to either party exists.
2. The court may enter a decree of dissolution without a
hearing under either of the following circumstances:
a. All of the following circumstances have been met:
(1) The parties have certified in writing that there has
been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent
that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed
and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage
can be preserved.
(2) All documents required by the court and by statute
have been filed.
(3) The parties have entered into a written agreement
settling all of the issues involved in the dissolution of
(4) There are no children of the marriage for whom
support, as defined under section 598.1, may be ordered.
b. The respondent has not entered a general or special
appearance or filed a motion or pleading in the case, the
waiting period provided under section 598.19 has expired, and
all of the following circumstances have been met:
(1) The petitioner has certified in writing that there has
been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent
that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed
and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage
can be preserved.
(2) All documents required by the court and by statute
have been filed.
(3) There are no children of the marriage for whom
support, as defined under section 598.1, may be ordered.
598.9 Residence--failure of proof.
If the averments as to residence are not fully proved, the hearing shall
proceed no further, and the action be dismissed by the court.
598.11 Temporary orders.
The court may order either party to pay the clerk a sum of money for the
separate support and maintenance of the other party and the children and
to enable such party to prosecute or defend the action. The court may on
its own motion and shall upon application of either party or an attorney
appointed under section 598.12 determine the temporary custody of any minor
child whose welfare may be affected by the filing of the petition for dissolution.
The court may make such an order when a claim for temporary
support is made by the petitioner in the petition, or upon
application of either party, after service of the original
notice and when no application is made in the petition;
however, no such order shall be entered until at least five
days' notice of hearing, and opportunity to be heard, is given
the other party. Appearance by an attorney or the respondent
for such hearing shall be deemed a special appearance for the
purpose of such hearing only and not a general appearance. An
order entered pursuant to this section shall contain the
names, birth dates, addresses, and counties of residence of
the petitioner and respondent.
H3>598.12 Attorney for minor child--investigations.
1. The court may appoint an attorney to represent
the interests of the minor child or children of the parties.
The attorney shall be empowered to make
independent investigations and to cause
witnesses to appear and testify before
the court on matters pertinent to the interests of the children.
2. The court may require that the
department of human services or an appropriate
agency make an investigation of both parties regarding the home
conditions, parenting capabilities, and other matters pertinent
to the best interests of the child or children in a dispute
concerning custody of the child or children. The investigation
report completed by the department of human services or an appropriate
agency shall be submitted to the court and available to both
parties. The investigation report completed by the department of
human services or an appropriate agency shall be a part of the
record unless otherwise ordered by the court.
3. The court shall enter an order in favor of the attorney, the
department of human services, or an appropriate agency
for fees and disbursements, which amount shall be charged against the
party responsible for court costs
unless the court determines that the party
responsible for costs is indigent in
which event the fees shall be borne by the county.
598.13 Financial statements filed.
Both parties shall disclose their
financial status. A showing of special
circumstances shall not be required
before the disclosure is ordered. A
statement of net worth set forth by
affidavit on a form prescribed by the
supreme court and furnished without
charge by the clerk of the district
court shall be filed by each party prior
to the dissolution hearing.
However, the parties
may waive this requirement upon application of both
parties and approval by the court.
Failure to comply with the requirements of this section constitutes failure
to make discovery as provided in rule of civil procedure 134.
598.14 How temporary order made--changes.
In making temporary orders, the court shall take into
consideration the age of the applicant, the physical
and pecuniary condition of the parties, and other matters
as are pertinent, which may be shown by affidavits, as the
court may direct. The hearing on the
application shall be limited to matters set forth in the
application, the affidavits of the parties, and the required
statements of income. The court shall not hear any other
matter relating to the petition, respondent's answer, or any
pleadings connected with the petition or answer.
Subject to 28 U.S.C. § 1738B, after notice and
hearing subsequent changes in temporary orders may be made by
the court on application of either party demonstrating a
substantial change in the circumstances occurring subsequent
to the issuance of such order. If the order is not so
modified it shall continue in force and effect until the
action is dismissed or a decree is entered dissolving the
598.14A Retroactive modification
of temporary support order.
An order for temporary support may be retroactively
modified only from three months after notice of hearing for
temporary support pursuant to section 598.11 or from three
months after notice of hearing for modification of a temporary
order for support pursuant to section 598.14. The three-month
limitation applies to modification actions pending on or after
July 1, 1997.
The petition may be presented to the court for the allowance of an order of
attachment, which, by endorsement thereon, may direct such attachment and fix
the amount for which it may issue, and the amount of the bond, if any, that
shall be given. Any property taken by virtue thereof shall be held to satisfy
the judgment or decree of the court, but may be discharged or released as in
A majority of the judges in any judicial district, with the
cooperation of any county board of
supervisors in the district, may establish a domestic
relations division of the district court of the county where
the board is located. The division shall offer
counseling and related services to persons before the
Upon the application of the petitioner in the petition or by the respondent
in the responsive pleading thereto or, within twenty days of appointment,
of an attorney appointed under section 598.12, the court shall require the
parties to participate in conciliation efforts for a period of sixty days
from the issuance of an order setting forth the conciliation procedure and
At any time upon its own motion or upon the application of a party the
court may require the parties to participate in conciliation efforts for
sixty days or less following the issuance of such an order.
Every order for conciliation shall require the conciliator to file a written
report by a date certain which shall state the conciliation procedures undertaken
and such other matters as may have been required by the court. The report
shall be a part of the record unless otherwise ordered by the court. Such
conciliation procedure may include, but is not limited to, referrals to
the domestic relations division of the court, if established, public or
private marriage counselors, family service agencies, community health centers,
physicians and clergy.
The costs of conciliation procedures shall be paid in full or
in part by the parties and taxed as court costs; however, if the court determines
that the parties will be unable to pay the costs without prejudicing their
financial ability to provide themselves and any minor children with economic
necessities, the costs may be paid in full or in part by the county.
Persons providing counseling
and other services pursuant to this section are not court
employees, but are subject to court supervision.
598.17 Dissolution of marriage--evidence.
A decree dissolving the marriage may be entered when the court is satisfied
from the evidence presented that there has been a breakdown of the marriage
relationship to the extent that the legitimate objects of matrimony have
been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage
can be preserved. The decree shall state that the dissolution is granted
to the parties, and shall not state that it is granted to only one party.
If at the time of trial petitioner fails to present
satisfactory evidence that there has been a breakdown of the
marriage relationship to the extent that the legitimate
objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no
reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, the
respondent may then proceed to present such evidence as though
the respondent had filed the original petition.
A dissolution of marriage granted
when one of the spouses has mental illness
shall not relieve the other spouse of any obligation imposed
by law as a result of the marriage for the support of the
spouse with mental illness. The court may make
an order for the support or may waive the support
obligation when satisfied from the evidence that it would
create an undue hardship on the obliged spouse or that
spouse's other dependents.
598.18 Recrimination not a bar to dissolution of marriage.
If, upon the trial of an action for dissolution of marriage, both of the
parties are found to have committed an act or acts which would support or
justify a decree of dissolution of marriage, such dissolution may be decreed,
and the acts of one party shall not negate the acts of the other, nor serve to
bar the dissolution decree in any way.
598.19 Waiting period before decree.
No decree dissolving a marriage shall be granted in any proceeding before
ninety days shall have elapsed from the day the original notice is served,
or from the last day of publication of notice, or from the date that waiver
or acceptance of original notice is filed or until after conciliation is
completed, whichever period shall be longer. However, the court may in its
discretion, on written motion supported by affidavit setting forth grounds
of emergency or necessity and facts which satisfy the court that immediate
action is warranted or required to protect the substantive rights or interests
of any party or person who might be affected by the decree, hold a hearing
and grant a decree dissolving the marriage prior to the expiration of the
applicable period, provided that requirements of notice have been complied
with. In such case the grounds of emergency or necessity and the facts with
respect thereto shall be recited in the decree unless otherwise ordered
by the court. The court may enter an order finding the respondent in default
and waiving conciliation when the respondent has failed to file an appearance
within the time set forth in the original notice.
598.19A Mandatory course--parties
to certain proceedings.
1. The court shall order the parties to any action which
involves the issues of child custody or visitation to
participate in a court-approved course to educate and
sensitize the parties to the needs of any child or party
during and subsequent to the proceeding within forty-five days
of the service of notice and petition for the action or within
forty-five days of the service of notice and application for
modification of an order. Participation in the course may be
waived or delayed by the court for good cause including, but
not limited to, a default by any of the parties or a showing
that the parties have previously participated in a
court-approved course or its equivalent. Participation in the
course is not required if the proceeding involves termination
of parental rights of any of the parties. A final decree
shall not be granted or a final order shall not be entered
until the parties have complied with this section.
2. Each party shall be responsible for arranging for
participation in the course and for payment of the costs of
participation in the course.
3. Each party shall submit certification of completion of
the course to the court prior to the granting of a final
decree or the entry of an order.
4. Each judicial district shall certify approved courses
for parties required to participate in a course under this
section. Approved courses may include those provided by a
public or private entity. At a minimum and as appropriate, an
approved course shall include information relating to the
parents regarding divorce and its impact on the children and
family relationship, parenting skills for divorcing parents,
children's needs and coping techniques, and the financial
responsibilities of parents following divorce.
5. In addition to the provisions of this section relating
to the required participation in a court-approved course by
the parties to an action as described in subsection 1, the
court may require age-appropriate counseling for children who
are involved in a dissolution of marriage action. The
counseling may be provided by a public or private entity
approved by the court. The costs of the counseling shall be
taxed as court costs.
6. The supreme court may prescribe rules to implement this
598.20 Forfeiture of marital rights.
When a dissolution of marriage is decreed the parties shall forfeit all
rights acquired by marriage which are not specifically preserved in the
decree. This provision shall not obviate any of the provisions of section
598.21 Orders for disposition and support.
1. Upon every judgment of annulment, dissolution or separate maintenance
the court shall divide the property of the parties and transfer the title
of the property accordingly. The court may protect and promote the best
interests of children of the parties by setting aside a portion of the property
of the parties in a separate fund or conservatorship for the support, maintenance,
education and general welfare of the minor children. The court shall divide
all property, except inherited property or gifts received by one party,
equitably between the parties after considering all of the following:
b. The property brought to the marriage by each party.
c. The contribution of each party to the marriage, giving appropriate
economic value to each party's contribution in homemaking and child care services.
d. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
e. The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased
earning power of the other.
f. The earning capacity of each party, including educational background,
training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the
job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense
necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party
to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable
to that enjoyed during the marriage.
g. The desirability of awarding the family home or the
right to live in the family home for a reasonable period to
the party having custody of the children, or if the parties
have joint legal custody, to the party having physical care
of the children.
h. The amount and duration of an order granting support payments to
either party pursuant to subsection 3 and whether the property division
should be in lieu of such payments.
i. Other economic circumstances of each party, including pension benefits,
vested or unvested, and future interests.
m. Other factors the court may determine to be relevant
in an individual case.
2. Property inherited by either party or gifts received by
either party prior to or during the course of the marriage is the
property of that party and is not subject to a property division
under this section except upon a finding that refusal to divide
the property is inequitable to the other
party or to the children of the marriage.
3. Upon every judgment of annulment, dissolution or separate maintenance,
the court may grant an order requiring support payments to either party
for a limited or indefinite length of time after considering all of the following:
b. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
c. The distribution of property made pursuant to subsection 1.
d. The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and
at the time the action is commenced.
e. The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance,
including educational background, training, employment skills,
work experience, length of absence from the job market,
responsibilities for children under either an award
of custody or physical care, and the time and expense necessary
to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the
party to find appropriate employment.
f. The feasibility of the party seeking maintenance becoming self-supporting
at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the
marriage, and the length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
j. Other factors the court may determine to be relevant
in an individual case.
4. The supreme court shall maintain uniform child support
guidelines and criteria and review the guidelines and criteria
at least once every four years, pursuant to the federal Family
Support Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-485. The initial review
shall be performed within four years of October 12, 1989, and
subsequently within the four-year period of the most recent
review. It is the intent of the general assembly that, to the
extent possible within the requirements of federal law, the
court and the child support recovery unit consider the
individual facts of each judgment or case in the application
of the guidelines and determine the support obligation, accordingly. It is also the intent of the general assembly that
in the supreme court's review of the guidelines, the supreme
court shall do both of the following: emphasize the ability
of a court to apply the guidelines in a just and appropriate
manner based upon the individual facts of a judgment or case;
and in determining monthly child support payments, consider
other children for whom either parent is legally responsible
for support and other child support obligations actually paid
by either party pursuant to a court or administrative order.
a. Unless prohibited pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1738B,
upon every judgment of annulment, dissolution, or separate
maintenance, the court may order either parent or both parents
to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for supporting a
child. In establishing the amount of support, consideration
shall be given to the responsibility of both parents to
support and provide for the welfare of the minor child and of
a child's need, whenever practicable, for a close relationship
with both parents. There shall be a rebuttable presumption
that the amount of child support which would result from the
application of the guidelines prescribed by the supreme court
is the correct amount of child support to be awarded. A
variation from the guidelines shall not be considered by a
court without a record or written finding, based on stated
reasons, that the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate
as determined under the criteria prescribed by the supreme
The court shall order as child medical support a health
benefit plan as defined in chapter 252E if available to either
parent at a reasonable cost. A health benefit plan is
considered reasonable in cost if it is employment-related or
other group health insurance, regardless of the service
delivery mechanism. The premium cost of the health benefit
plan may be considered by the court as a reason for varying
from the child support guidelines. If a health benefit plan
is not available at a reasonable cost, the court may order any
other provisions for medical support as defined in chapter
b. The guidelines prescribed by the supreme court shall be
used by the department of human services in determining child
support payments under sections 252C.2 and 252C.4. A
variation from the guidelines shall not be considered by the
department without a record or written finding, based on
stated reasons, that the guidelines would be unjust or
inappropriate as determined under criteria prescribed by the
c. The guidelines prescribed by the
supreme court shall incorporate provisions for medical support
as defined in chapter 252E to be effective on or before
January 1, 1991.
d. For purposes of calculating a support
obligation under this section, the income of the parent from
whom support is sought shall be used as the noncustodial
parent income for purposes of application of the guidelines,
regardless of the legal custody of the child.
e. Unless the special circumstances of the
case justify a deviation, the court or the child support
recovery unit shall establish a monthly child support payment
of twenty-five dollars for a parent who is nineteen years of
age or younger, who has not received a high school or high
school equivalency diploma, and to whom each of the following
(1) The parent is attending a school or program described
as follows or has been identified as one of the following:
(a) The parent is in full-time attendance at an accredited
school and is pursuing a course of study leading to a high
(b) The parent is attending an instructional program
leading to a high school equivalency diploma.
(c) The parent is attending a vocational education program
approved pursuant to chapter 258.
(d) The parent has been identified by the director of
special education of the area education agency as a child
requiring special education as defined in section 256B.2.
(2) The parent provides proof of compliance with the
requirements of subparagraph (1) to the child support recovery
unit, if the unit is providing services under chapter 252B, or
if the unit is not providing services pursuant to chapter
252B, to the court as the court may direct.
Failure to provide proof of compliance under this
subparagraph or proof of compliance under section 598.21A is
grounds for modification of the support order using the
uniform child support guidelines and imputing an income to the
parent equal to a forty-hour work week at the state minimum
wage, unless the parent's education, experience, or actual
earnings justify a higher income.
4A. If, during an action initiated under
this chapter or any other chapter in which a child or medical
support obligation may be established based upon a prior
determination of paternity, a party wishes to contest the
paternity of the child or children involved, all of the
a. (1) If the prior determination of paternity is based
on an affidavit of paternity filed pursuant to section
252A.3A, or a court or administrative order entered in this
state, or by operation of law when the mother and established
father are or were married to each other, the provisions of
section 600B.41A apply.
(2) If following the proceedings under section 600B.41A
the court determines that the prior determination of paternity
should not be overcome, and that the established father has a
duty to provide support, the court shall enter an order
establishing the monthly child support payment and the amount
of the support debt accrued and accruing pursuant to
subsection 4, or the medical support obligation pursuant to
chapter 252E, or both.
b. If a determination of paternity is based on an
administrative or court order or other means pursuant to the
laws of a foreign jurisdiction, any action to overcome the
prior determination of paternity shall be filed in that
jurisdiction. Unless a stay of the action initiated in this
state to establish child or medical support is requested and
granted by the court, pending a resolution of the contested
paternity issue by the foreign jurisdiction, the action shall
c. Notwithstanding paragraph "a", in a pending dissolution
action under this chapter, a prior determination of paternity
by operation of law through the marriage of the established
father and mother of the child may be overcome under this
chapter if the
established father and mother of the child file a
written statement with the court that both parties agree that
the established father is not the biological father of the
If the court overcomes a prior determination of paternity,
the previously established father shall be relieved of support
obligations as specified in section 600B.41A, subsection 4.
In any action to overcome paternity other than through a
pending dissolution action, the provisions of section 600B.41A
apply. Overcoming paternity under this paragraph does not bar
subsequent actions to establish paternity. A subsequent
action to establish paternity against the previously
established father is not barred if it is subsequently
determined that the written statement attesting that the
established father is not the biological father of the child
may have been submitted erroneously, and that the person
previously determined not to be the child's father during the
dissolution action may actually be the child's biological
4B. If an action to overcome paternity is
brought pursuant to subsection 4A, paragraph "c", the court
shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child for the
pendency of the proceedings.
5. The court may protect and promote the best interests of a minor child
by setting aside a portion of the child support which either party is ordered
to pay in a separate fund or conservatorship for the support, education
and welfare of the child.
5A. The court may order a postsecondary
education subsidy if good cause is shown.
a. In determining whether good cause exists for ordering a
postsecondary education subsidy, the court shall consider the
age of the child, the ability of the child relative to
postsecondary education, the child's financial resources,
whether the child is self-sustaining, and the financial
condition of each parent. If the court determines that good
cause is shown for ordering a postsecondary education subsidy,
the court shall determine the amount of subsidy as follows:
(1) The court shall determine the cost of postsecondary
education based upon the cost of attending an in-state public
institution for a course of instruction leading to an
undergraduate degree and shall include the reasonable costs
for only necessary postsecondary education expenses.
(2) The court shall then determine the amount, if any,
which the child may reasonably be expected to contribute,
considering the child's financial resources, including but not
limited to the availability of financial aid whether in the
form of scholarships, grants, or student loans, and the
ability of the child to earn income while attending school.
(3) The child's expected contribution shall be deducted
from the cost of postsecondary education and the court shall
apportion responsibility for the remaining cost of
postsecondary education to each parent. The amount paid by
each parent shall not exceed thirty-three and one-third
percent of the total cost of postsecondary education.
b. A postsecondary education subsidy shall be payable to
the child, to the educational institution, or to both, but
shall not be payable to the custodial parent.
c. A postsecondary education subsidy shall not be awarded
if the child has repudiated the parent by publicly disowning
the parent, refusing to acknowledge the parent, or by acting
in a similar manner.
d. The child shall forward, to each parent, reports of
grades awarded at the completion of each academic session,
within ten days of receipt of the reports. Unless otherwise
specified by the parties, a postsecondary education subsidy
awarded by the court shall be terminated upon the child's
completion of the first calendar year of course instruction if
the child fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average
in the median range or above during that first calendar year.
6. The court may provide for joint custody of the children
by the parties pursuant to section 598.41.
All orders relating to custody of a child are subject to
7. Orders made pursuant to this section need mention only
those factors relevant to the particular case for which the
orders are made but shall contain the names, birth dates,
addresses, and counties of residence of the petitioner and
8. Subject to 28 U.S.C. § 1738B, the court may
subsequently modify orders made under this section when there
is a substantial change in circumstances. In determining
whether there is a substantial change in circumstances, the
court shall consider the following:
a. Changes in the employment, earning capacity, income or
resources of a party.
b. Receipt by a party of an inheritance, pension or other
i. Changes in the physical, emotional or educational needs
of a child whose support is governed by the order.
j. Contempt by a party of existing orders of court.
k. Other factors the court determines to be relevant in an
Unless otherwise provided pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1738B,
a modification of a support order entered under chapter 234,
252A, 252C, 600B, this chapter, or any other support chapter
or proceeding between parties to the order is void unless the
modification is approved by the court, after proper notice and
opportunity to be heard is given to all parties to the order,
and entered as an order of the court. If support payments
have been assigned to the department of human services
pursuant to section 234.39, 239B.6, or 252E.11, or if services
are being provided pursuant to chapter 252B, the department
is a party to the support order.
Modifications of orders pertaining to child custody shall be
made pursuant to chapter 598A. If the petition for a
modification of an order pertaining to child custody asks
either for joint custody or that joint custody be modified to
an award of sole custody, the modification, if any, shall be
made pursuant to section 598.41.
Judgments for child support or child support awards entered
pursuant to this chapter, chapter 234, 252A, 252C, 252F, 600B,
or any other chapter of the Code which are subject to a
modification proceeding may be retroactively modified only
from three months after the date the notice of the pending
petition for modification is served on the opposing party.
The three-month limitation applies to a modification action
pending on or after July 1, 1997. The prohibition of
retroactive modification does not bar the child support
recovery unit from obtaining orders for accrued support for
previous time periods. Any retroactive modification which
increases the amount of child support or any order for accrued
support under this paragraph shall include a periodic payment
plan. A retroactive modification shall not be regarded as a
delinquency unless there are subsequent failures to make
payments in accordance with the periodic payment plan.
The periodic due date
established under a prior order for payment of child support
shall not be changed in any modified order under this section,
unless the court determines that good cause exists to change
the periodic due date. If the court determines that good
cause exists, the court shall include the rationale for the
change in the modified order and shall address the issue of
reconciliation of any payments due or made under a prior order
which would result in payment of the child support obligation
under both the prior and the modified orders.
8A. If a parent awarded joint legal
custody and physical care or sole legal custody is relocating
the residence of the minor child to a location which is one
hundred fifty miles or more from the residence of the minor
child at the time that custody was awarded, the court may
consider the relocation a substantial change in circumstances.
If the court determines that the relocation is a substantial
change in circumstances, the court shall modify the custody
order to, at a minimum, preserve, as nearly as possible, the
existing relationship between the minor child and the
nonrelocating parent. If modified, the order may include a
provision for extended visitation during summer vacations and
school breaks and scheduled telephone contact between the
nonrelocating parent and the minor child. The modification
may include a provision assigning the responsibility for
transportation of the minor child for visitation purposes to
either or both parents. If the court makes a finding of past
interference by the parent awarded joint legal custody and
physical care or sole legal custody with the minor child's
access to the other parent, the court may order the posting of
a cash bond to assure future compliance with the visitation
provisions of the decree. The supreme court shall prescribe
guidelines for the forfeiting of the bond and restoration of
the bond following forfeiting of the bond.
9. Subject to 28 U.S.C. § 1738B, but
notwithstanding subsection 8, a substantial change of
circumstances exists when the court order for child support
varies by ten percent or more from the amount which would be
due pursuant to the most current child support guidelines
established pursuant to subsection 4 or the obligor has access
to a health benefit plan, the current order for support does
not contain provisions for medical support, and the dependents
are not covered by a health benefit plan provided by the
obligee, excluding coverage pursuant to chapter 249A or a
comparable statute of a foreign jurisdiction.
This basis for modification is applicable to petitions
filed on or after July 1, 1992, notwithstanding whether the
guidelines prescribed by subsection 4 were used in
establishing the current amount of support. Upon application
for a modification of an order for child support for which
services are being received pursuant to chapter 252B, the
court shall set the amount of child support based upon the
most current child support guidelines established pursuant to
subsection 4, including provisions for medical support
pursuant to chapter 252E. The child support recovery unit
shall, in submitting an application for modification,
adjustment, or alteration of an order for support, employ
additional criteria and procedures as provided in chapter 252H
and as established by rule.
10. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, when an application for modification or adjustment
of support is submitted by the child support recovery unit,
the sole issues which may be considered by the court in that
action are the application of the guidelines in establishing
the amount of support pursuant to subsection 4, and provision
for medical support under chapter 252E. When an application
for a cost-of-living alteration of support is submitted by the
child support recovery unit pursuant to section 252H.24, the
sole issue which may be considered by the court in the action
is the application of the cost-of-living alteration in
establishing the amount of child support. Issues related to
custody, visitation, or other provisions unrelated to support
shall be considered only under a separate application for
11. If the court orders a transfer
of title to real property, the clerk of
court shall issue
a certificate under chapter 558 relative
to each parcel
of real estate affected by the order and
the certificate for recording to the
of the county in which
the real estate is
located. Any fees assessed shall be
included as part of the
The county recorder shall deliver the
to the county auditor
as provided in
section 558.58, subsection 1.
Property divisions made under
this chapter are not subject to modification.
598.21A Minor parent--parenting
In any order or judgment entered under chapter 234, 252A,
252C, 252F, 598, or 600B or under any other chapter which
provides for temporary or permanent support payments, if the
parent ordered to pay support is less than eighteen years of
age, one of the following shall apply:
1. If the child support recovery unit is providing
services pursuant to chapter 252B, the court, or the
administrator as defined in section 252C.1, shall order the
parent ordered to pay support to attend parenting classes
which are approved by the department of human services.
2. If the child support recovery unit is not providing
services pursuant to chapter 252B, the court may order the
parent ordered to pay support to attend parenting classes
which are approved by the court.
598.22 Support payments--clerk of court--collection
Except as otherwise provided in section 598.22A, this
section applies to all initial or modified orders for support
entered under this chapter, chapter 234, 252A, 252C, 252F,
600B, or any other chapter of the Code. All orders or
judgments entered under chapter 234, 252A, 252C, 252F, or
600B, or under this chapter or any other chapter which provide
for temporary or permanent support payments shall direct the
payment of those sums to the clerk of the district court or
the collection services center in accordance with section
252B.14 for the use of the person for whom the payments have
been awarded. Beginning October 1, 1999, all income
withholding payments shall be directed to the collection
services center. Payments to persons other than the clerk of
the district court and the collection services center do not
satisfy the support obligations created by the orders or
judgments, except as provided for trusts governed by the
federal Retirement Equity Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-397, for
tax refunds or rebates in section 602.8102, subsection 47, or
for dependent benefits paid to the child support obligee as
the result of disability benefits awarded to the child support
obligor under the federal Social Security Act. For trusts
governed by the federal Retirement Equity Act of 1984, Pub. L.
No. 98-397, the order for income withholding or notice of the
order for income withholding shall require the payment of such
sums to the alternate payee in accordance with the federal
An income withholding order or notice of the
order for income withholding shall be entered under the terms
and conditions of chapter 252D. However, for trusts governed
by the federal Retirement Equity Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-
397, the payor shall transmit the payments to the alternate
payee in accordance with the federal Act.
An order or judgment entered by the court for temporary or
permanent support or for income withholding shall be filed
with the clerk. The orders have the same force and effect as
judgments when entered in the judgment docket and lien index
and are records open to the public. Unless otherwise
provided by federal law, if it is possible to identify the
support order to which a payment is to be applied, and if
sufficient information identifying the obligee is provided,
the clerk or the collection services center, as appropriate,
shall disburse the payments received pursuant to the orders or
judgments within two working days of the receipt of the
payments. All moneys received or disbursed under this section
shall be entered in records kept by the clerk, or the
collection services center, as appropriate, which shall be
available to the public. The clerk or the collection services
center shall not enter any moneys paid in the record book if
not paid directly to the clerk or the center, as appropriate,
except as provided for trusts and federal social security
disability payments in this section, and for tax refunds or
rebates in section 602.8102, subsection 47.
If the sums ordered to be paid in a support payment order
are not paid to the clerk or the collection services center,
as appropriate, at the time provided in the order or judgment,
the clerk or the collection services center, as appropriate,
shall certify a default to the court which may, on its own
motion, proceed as provided in section 598.23.
Prompt payment of sums required to be paid under sections
598.11 and 598.21 is the essence of such orders or judgments
and the court may act pursuant to section 598.23 regardless of
whether the amounts in default are paid prior to the contempt
Upon entry of an order for support or upon the failure of a
person to make payments pursuant to an order for support, the
court may require the person to provide security, a bond, or
other guarantee which the court determines is satisfactory to
secure the payment of the support. Upon the person's failure
to pay the support under the order, the court may declare the
security, bond, or other guarantee forfeited.
For the purpose of enforcement, medical support is
additional support which, upon being reduced to a dollar
amount, may be collected through the same remedies available
for the collection and enforcement of child support.
The clerk of the district court in the county in which the
order for support is filed and to whom support payments are
made pursuant to the order may require the person obligated to
pay support to submit payments by bank draft or money order if
the obligor submits an insufficient funds support payment to
the clerk of the district court.
598.22A Satisfaction of support
Notwithstanding sections 252B.14 and 598.22, support
payments ordered pursuant to any support chapter for orders
entered on or after July 1, 1985, which are not made pursuant
to the provisions of section 252B.14 or 598.22, shall be
credited only as provided in this section.
1. For payment made pursuant to an order,
the clerk of the district court or
collection services center shall record a satisfaction as a
credit on the official support payment record if its validity
is confirmed by the court upon submission of an affidavit by
the person entitled to receive the payment, after notice is
given to all parties.
If a satisfaction recorded on the official support payment
record by the clerk of the district court or collection
services center prior to July 1, 1991, was not confirmed as
valid by the court, and a party to the action submits a
written affidavit objecting to the satisfaction, notice of the
objection shall be mailed to all parties at their last known
addresses. After all parties have had sufficient opportunity
to respond to the objection, the court shall either require
the satisfaction to be removed from the official support
payment record or confirm its validity.
2. For purposes of this section, the state is a party to
which notice shall be given when public funds have been
expended pursuant to chapter 234, 239B, or 249A, or similar
statutes in another state. If proper notice is not given to
the state when required, any order of satisfaction is void.
3. The court shall not enter an order for satisfaction of
payments not made through the clerk of the district court or
collection services center if those payments have been
assigned as a result of public funds expended pursuant to
chapter 234, 239B, or 249A, or similar statutes in other states
and the support payments accrued during the months in which
public funds were expended. If the support order did not
direct payments to a clerk of the district court or the
collection services center, and the support payments in
question accrued during the months in which public funds were
not expended, however, the court may enter an order for
satisfaction of payments not made through the clerk of the
district court or the collection services center if
documentation of the financial instrument used in the payment
of support is presented to the court and the parties to the
order submit a written affidavit confirming that the financial
instrument was used as payment for support.
4. Payment of accrued support debt due
the department of human services shall be credited pursuant to
section 252B.3, subsection 5.
598.22B Information required in order or judgment.
This section applies to all initial or modified orders for
paternity or support entered under this chapter, chapter 234,
252A, 252C, 252F, 252H, 252K, or 600B, or under any other
chapter, and any subsequent order to enforce such support
1. All such orders or judgments shall direct each party to
file with the clerk of court or the child support recovery
unit, as appropriate, upon entry of the order, and to update
as appropriate, information on location and identity of the
party, including social security number, residential and
mailing addresses, telephone number, driver's license number,
and name, address, and telephone number of the party's
employer. The order shall also include a provision that the
information filed will be disclosed and used pursuant to this
section. The party shall file the information with the clerk
of court, or, if all support payments are to be directed to
the collection services center as provided in section
252B.14, subsection 2, and section 252B.16, with the child
support recovery unit.
2. All such orders or judgments shall include a statement
that in any subsequent child support action initiated by the
child support recovery unit or between the parties, upon
sufficient showing that diligent effort has been made to
ascertain the location of such a party, the unit or the court
shall deem due process requirements for notice and service
of process to be met with respect to the party, upon delivery
of written notice to the most recent residential or employer
address filed with the clerk of court or unit pursuant to
3.a. Information filed pursuant to subsection 1 shall
not be a public record.
b. Information filed with the clerk of court pursuant to
subsection 1 shall be available to the child support recovery
unit, upon request. Beginning October 1, 1998, information
filed with the clerk of court pursuant to subsection 1 shall
be provided by the clerk of court to the child support
recovery unit pursuant to section 252B.24.
c. Information filed with the clerk of court shall be
available, upon request, to a party unless the party filing
the information also files an affidavit alleging the party has
reason to believe that release of the information may result
in physical or emotional harm to the affiant or child.
However, even if an affidavit has been filed, any information
provided by the clerk of court to the child support recovery
unit shall be disclosed by the unit as provided in section
d. Information provided to the unit shall only be
disclosed as provided in section 252B.9.
598.23 Contempt proceedings--alternatives to jail sentence.
1. If a person against whom a temporary
order or final decree has been entered willfully
disobeys the order or
decree, the person may be cited and punished by the court
for contempt and be committed to the county jail for a period
of time not to exceed thirty days for each offense.
2. The court may, as an alternative to punishment for
contempt, make an order which, according to the subject matter
of the order or decree involved, does the following:
a. Withholds income under the terms and conditions of
b. Modifies visitation to compensate for lost
visitation time or establishes joint custody for
the child or transfers custody.
c. Directs the parties to provide contact
with the child through a neutral party or neutral site or
d. Imposes sanctions or specific
requirements or orders the parties to participate in mediation
to enforce the joint custody provisions of the decree.
598.23A Contempt proceedings for
provisions of support payments--activity governed by a license.
1. If a person against whom an order or decree for support
has been entered pursuant to this chapter or chapter 234,
252A, 252C, 252F, 600B, or any other support chapter, or a
comparable chapter of a foreign jurisdiction, fails to make
payments or provide medical support pursuant to that order or
decree, the person may be cited and punished by the court for
contempt under section 598.23 or this section. Failure to
comply with a seek employment order entered pursuant to
section 252B.21 is evidence of willful failure to pay support.
2. If a person is cited for contempt, the court may do
any of the following:
a. Require the posting of a cash bond, within seven
calendar days, in an amount equivalent to the current
arrearages and an additional amount which is equivalent to at
least twelve months of future support obligations. If the
arrearages are not paid within three months of the hearing,
the bond shall be automatically forfeited to cover payment of
the full portion of the arrearages and the portion of the bond
representing future support obligations shall be automatically
forfeited to cover future support payments as payments become
b. (1) Require the performance of community service work
of up to twenty hours per week for six weeks for each finding
of contempt. The contemnor may, at any time during the six-
week period, apply to the court to be released from the
community service work requirement under any of the following
(a) The contemnor provides proof to the court that the
contemnor is gainfully employed and submits to an order for
income withholding pursuant to chapter 252D or to a court-
ordered wage assignment.
(b) The contemnor provides proof of payment of an amount
equal to at least six months' child support. The payment does
not relieve the contemnor's obligation for arrearages or
(c) The contemnor provides proof to the court that,
subsequent to entry of the order, the contemnor's
circumstances have so changed that the contemnor is no longer
able to fulfill the terms of the community service order.
(2) The contemnor shall keep a record of and provide the
following information to the court at the court's request, or
to the child support recovery unit established pursuant to
chapter 252B, at the unit's request, when the unit is
providing enforcement services pursuant to chapter 252B:
(a) The duties performed as community service during each
week that the contemnor is subject to the community service
(b) The number of hours of community service performed
during each week that the contemnor is subject to the
community service requirements.
(c) The name, address, and telephone number of the person
supervising or arranging for the performance of the community
(3) The performance of community service does not relieve
the contemnor of any unpaid accrued or accruing support
c. Enjoin the contemnor from engaging in
the exercise of any activity governed by a license.
(1) If the court determines that an extreme hardship will
result from the injunction, the court order may allow the
contemnor to engage in the exercise of the activity governed
by the license, subject to terms established by the court,
which shall include, at a minimum, that the contemnor enter
into an agreement to satisfy all obligations owing over a
period of time satisfactory to the court.
(2) If the court order allows for the exercise of the
activity governed by a license pending satisfaction of an
obligation over time, and the contemnor fails to comply with
the agreement, the contemnor shall be provided an opportunity
for hearing, within ten days, to demonstrate why an order
enjoining the contemnor from engaging in the exercise of any
activity governed by a license should not be issued.
(3) The court order under this paragraph shall be vacated
only after verification is provided to the court that the
contemnor has satisfied all accrued obligations owing and that
the contemnor has satisfied all terms established by the court
and when the person entitled to receive support payments, or
the child support recovery unit when the unit is providing
enforcement services pursuant to chapter 252B, has been
provided ten days' notice and an opportunity to object.
(4) As used in this paragraph, "license" means any license
or renewal of a license, certification, or registration issued
by an agency to a person to conduct a trade or business,
including but not limited to a license to practice a
profession or occupation or to operate a commercial motor
598.24 Costs if party is in default or contempt.
When an action for a
modification, order to show cause, or contempt of a
dissolution, annulment, or separate maintenance decree is
brought on the grounds that a party to the decree is in default
or contempt of the decree, and the court determines that the
party is in default or contempt of the decree, the costs of
the proceeding, including reasonable attorney's fees, may
be taxed against that party.
598.25 Termination of jurisdiction of court granting marriage dissolution decree.
Whenever a proceeding is initiated in a court for adoption involving the
children of parents or guardians whose marriage has been dissolved, or for
modification of a judgment of alimony, child support, or custody granted
in an action for dissolution of marriage, the following requirements must
be met if such proceedings are initiated in a court other than the court
which granted the dissolution decree.
1. The party initiating such proceedings must present to the court the
names and addresses of the parties to the dissolution decree if known, as
well as the name and place of the court which granted the dissolution decree
and the date of the decree.
2. The court in which the proceedings are initiated shall cause notice
of such proceedings to be served upon the parties to the original action
unless either or both parties are deceased.
Such court, or either of the parties to the dissolution decree, may request
that a copy of the transcript of the proceedings of the court which granted the
dissolution decree be made available for consideration in the new proceedings.
598.26 Record--impounding--violation indictable.
The record and evidence in each case of marriage dissolution shall be kept
pursuant to the following provisions:
1. Until a decree of dissolution has been entered, the
record and evidence shall be closed to all but the court, its
officers, and the child support recovery unit of the
department of human services pursuant to section 252B.9.
However, the payment records of a temporary support order,
whether maintained by the clerk of the district court or the
department of human services, are public records and may be
released upon request. Payment records shall not include
address or location information. No other person shall permit
a copy of any of the testimony, or pleading, or the substance
thereof, to be made available to any person other than a party
to the action or a party's attorney. Nothing in this
subsection shall be construed to prohibit publication of the
original notice as provided by the rules of civil procedure.
2. The court shall, in the absence of objection by another party, grant
a motion by a party to require the sealing of an answer to an interrogatory
or of a financial statement filed pursuant to section 598.13. The court
may in its discretion grant a motion by a party to require the sealing of
any other information which is part of the record of the case except for
court orders, decrees and any judgments. If the court grants a motion to
require the sealing of information in the case, the sealed information shall
not thereafter be made available to any person other than a party to the
action or a party's attorney except upon order of the court for good cause shown.
3. If the action is dismissed, judgment for costs shall be entered in
the judgment docket and lien index. The clerk shall maintain a separate
docket for dissolution of marriage actions.
4. Violation of the provisions of this section shall be a serious misdemeanor.
598.28 Separate maintenance and annulment.
A petition shall be filed in separate maintenance and annulment actions as
in actions for dissolution of marriage, and all applicable provisions of this
chapter in relation thereto shall apply to separate maintenance and annulment
598.29 Annulling illegal marriage--causes.
Marriage may be annulled for the following causes:
1. Where the marriage between the parties is prohibited by law.
2. Where either party was impotent at the time of marriage.
3. Where either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the
marriage, provided they have not, with a knowledge of such fact, lived and
cohabited together after the death or marriage dissolution of the former spouse
of such party.
4. Where either party was
a ward under a
guardianship and was found by the court to lack the
capacity to contract a valid marriage.
598.30 Validity determined.
When the validity of a marriage is doubted, either party may file a
petition, and the court shall decree it annulled or affirmed according to the
Children born to the parties, or to the wife, in a marriage relationship
which may be terminated or annulled pursuant to the provisions of this chapter
shall be legitimate as to both parties, unless the court shall decree otherwise
according to the proof.
In case either party entered into the contract of marriage in good faith,
supposing the other to be capable of contracting, and the marriage is declared
a nullity, such fact shall be entered in the decree, and the court may decree
such innocent party compensation as in case of dissolution of marriage.
598.33 Order to vacate.
Notwithstanding section 561.15, the court may order either party to vacate
the homestead pending entry of a decree of dissolution upon a showing that
the other party or the children are in imminent danger of physical harm
if the order is not issued.
598.34 Recipients of public assistance--assignment of
assistance is provided by the department of human services to
or on behalf of a dependent child or a dependent child's
caretaker, there is an assignment by operation of law to the
department of any and all rights in, title to, and interest in
any support obligation, payment, and arrearages owed to or for
the child or caretaker not to exceed the amount of public
assistance paid for or on behalf of the child or caretaker.
The department shall immediately notify the clerk of court by
mail when such a child
or caretaker has been determined to be eligible for public
assistance. Upon notification by the department,
the clerk of court shall make
a notation of the automatic assignment in the judgment docket
and lien index. The notation constitutes constructive notice
of the assignment. For public assistance approved and
provided on or after July 1, 1997, if the applicant for public
assistance is a person other than a parent of the child, the
department shall send a notice by regular mail to the last
known addresses of the obligee and obligor. The clerk of
court shall forward support payments received pursuant to
section 598.22, to which the department is entitled, to the
department, which may secure support payments in default
through other proceedings.
The clerk shall furnish the department with copies of all
orders or decrees and temporary or domestic abuse
orders addressing support
when the parties are receiving public assistance or
services are otherwise provided by the child support recovery
unit pursuant to chapter 252B. Unless otherwise specified in
the order, an equal and proportionate share of any child
support awarded shall be presumed to be payable on behalf of
each child subject to the order or judgment for purposes of an
assignment under this section.
5. The parents of the child are divorced, and the parent
who is not the child of the grandparent or who is not the
grandchild of the great-grandparent has legal custody of the
child, and the spouse of the child's custodial parent has been
issued a final adoption decree pursuant to section 600.13.
6. The paternity of a child born out of wedlock is
judicially established and the grandparent of the child is the
parent of the mother or father of the child or the
great-grandparent of the child is the grandparent of the mother or
father of the child and the mother of the child has custody of
the child, or the grandparent of a child born out of wedlock
is the parent of the mother or father of the child or the
great-grandparent of the child is the grandparent of the
mother or father of the child and custody has been awarded to
the father of the child.
7. A parent of the child unreasonably refuses to allow
visitation by the grandparent or great-grandparent or
unreasonably restricts visitation. This subsection applies to
but is not limited in application to a situation in which the
parents of the child are divorced and the parent who is the
child of the grandparent or who is the grandchild of the
great-grandparent has legal custody of the child.
A petition for grandchild or great-grandchild visitation
rights shall be granted only upon a finding that the
visitation is in the best interests of the child and that the
grandparent or great-grandparent had established a substantial
relationship with the child prior to the filing of the
598.36 Attorney fees in
proceeding to modify order or decree.
In a proceeding
for the modification of an order or decree under this
chapter the court may award attorney fees to the prevailing
party in an amount deemed reasonable by the court.
598.37 Name change.
Either party to a marriage may request as a part of the
decree of dissolution or decree of annulment a change in the
person's name to either the name appearing on the person's
birth certificate or to the name the person had immediately
prior to the marriage. If a party requests a name change
other than to the name appearing on the person's birth
certificate or to the name the person had immediately prior to
the marriage, the request shall be made under chapter 674.
H3>598.41 Custody of children.
1.a. The court, insofar as is reasonable and in the best
interest of the child, shall order the custody award,
including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, which
will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum
continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents
after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage,
and which will encourage parents to share the rights and
responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical
harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other
children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact
with one parent.
b. Notwithstanding paragraph "a", if the court finds that
a history of domestic abuse exists, a rebuttable presumption
against the awarding of joint custody exists.
c. The court shall consider the denial by one parent of
the child's opportunity for maximum continuing contact with
the other parent, without just cause, a significant factor in
determining the proper custody arrangement. Just cause may
include a determination by the court pursuant to subsection 3,
paragraph "j", that a history of domestic abuse exists between
d. If a history of domestic abuse exists as determined by
a court pursuant to subsection 3, paragraph "j", and if a
parent who is a victim of such domestic abuse relocates or is
absent from the home based upon the fear of or actual acts or
threats of domestic abuse perpetrated by the other parent, the
court shall not consider the relocation or absence of that
parent as a factor against that parent in the awarding of
custody or visitation.
e. Unless otherwise ordered by the court in the custody
decree, both parents shall have legal access to information
concerning the child, including but not limited to medical,
educational and law enforcement records.
2.a. On the application of either parent, the court
shall consider granting joint custody in cases where the
parents do not agree to joint custody.
b. If the court does not grant joint custody under this
subsection, the court shall cite clear and convincing
evidence, pursuant to the factors in subsection 3, that joint
custody is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the
child to the extent that the legal custodial relationship
between the child and a parent should be severed.
c. A finding by the court that a history of domestic abuse
exists, as specified in subsection 3, paragraph "j", which is
not rebutted, shall outweigh consideration of any other factor
specified in subsection 3 in the determination of the awarding of
custody under this subsection.
d. Before ruling upon the joint custody petition in these
cases, unless the court determines that a history of domestic
abuse exists as specified in subsection 3, paragraph "j", or
unless the court determines that direct physical harm or
significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a
parent is likely to result, the court may require the parties
to participate in custody mediation to determine
whether joint custody is in the best interest of the child.
The court may require the child's participation in the
mediation insofar as the court determines the
child's participation is advisable.
e. The costs of custody mediation shall be paid
in full or in part by the parties and taxed as court costs.
3. In considering what custody arrangement under subsection 2
is in the best interest of the minor child, the
court shall consider the following factors:
a. Whether each parent would be a suitable custodian for
b. Whether the psychological and emotional needs and
development of the child will suffer due to lack of active
contact with and attention from both parents.
c. Whether the parents can communicate with each other
regarding the child's needs.
d. Whether both parents have actively cared for the child
before and since the separation.
e. Whether each parent can support the other parent's
relationship with the child.
f. Whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the
child's wishes or whether the child has strong opposition,
taking into consideration the child's age and maturity.
g. Whether one or both the parents agree or are
opposed to joint custody.
i. Whether the safety of the
child, other children, or the other parent will be jeopardized
by the awarding of joint custody or by unsupervised or
j. Whether a history of domestic abuse, as
defined in section 236.2, exists. In determining whether a
history of domestic abuse exists, the court's consideration
shall include, but is not limited to, commencement of an action
pursuant to section 236.3, the issuance of a protective order
against the parent or the issuance of a court order or consent
agreement pursuant to section 236.5, the issuance of an
emergency order pursuant to section 236.6, the holding of a
parent in contempt pursuant to section 236.8, the response of
a peace officer to the scene of alleged domestic abuse or the
arrest of a parent following response to a report of alleged
domestic abuse, or a conviction for domestic abuse assault
pursuant to section 708.2A.
4. Subsection 3 shall not apply when
parents agree to joint custody.
5. Joint physical care may be in the best interest of the
child, but joint legal custody does not require joint physical
care. When the court determines such action would be in the
best interest of the child and would preserve the relationship
between each parent and the child, joint physical care may be
awarded to both joint custodial parents or physical care
may be awarded to one joint custodial parent.
If one joint custodial parent is awarded physical
care, the parent responsible for
providing physical care shall support
the other parent's relationship with the child.
Physical care awarded to one parent does not
affect the other parent's rights and responsibilities as a
joint legal custodian of the child. Rights and
responsibilities as joint legal custodian of the child
include, but are not limited to, equal participation in
decisions affecting the child's legal status, medical care,
education, extracurricular activities, and religious
6. When a parent awarded legal custody or physical
care of a child cannot act as custodian or caretaker
because the parent has died or has been judicially adjudged
incompetent, the court shall award legal custody including
physical care of the child to the surviving parent unless the
court finds that such an award is not in the child's best
7. If an application for modification of
a decree or a petition for modification of an order is filed,
based upon differences between the parents regarding the
custody arrangement established under the decree or order,
unless the court determines that a history of domestic abuse
exists as specified in subsection 3, paragraph "j", or unless
the court determines that direct physical harm or significant
emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent is
likely to result, the court may require the parents to
participate in mediation to attempt to resolve the differences
between the parents.
598.41A Visitation--history of crimes
against a minor.
Notwithstanding section 598.41, the court shall consider in
the award of visitation rights to a parent of a child, the
criminal history of the parent if the parent has been
convicted of a criminal offense against a minor, a sexually
violent offense against a minor, or sexual exploitation of a
minor. As used in this section, "criminal offense against a
minor", "sexually violent offense", and "sexual exploitation"
mean as defined in section 692A.1.
598.42 Notice of certain orders by clerk of court.
The clerk of the district court shall provide
notice and copies of temporary or permanent protective orders
and orders to vacate the homestead entered pursuant to this
chapter to the applicable law enforcement agencies and the
twenty-four hour dispatcher for the law enforcement agencies,
in the manner provided for protective orders under section
236.5. The clerk shall provide notice and
copies of modifications or vacations of these orders in the
598A.1 Legislative intent.
The general purposes of this chapter are to:
1. Avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other
states in matters of child custody, which have in the past resulted in the
shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being.
2. Promote co-operation with the courts of other states to the end that
a custody decree is rendered in the state which can best decide the case
in the interest of the child.
3. Assure that litigation concerning the custody of a child takes place
ordinarily in the state with which the child and the family have the closest
connection and where significant evidence concerning the child's care, protection,
training, and personal relationships is most readily available, and that
courts of this state decline the exercise of jurisdiction when the child
and the family have a closer connection with another state.
4. Discourage continuing controversies over child custody, in the interest
of greater stability of home environment and of secure family relationships
for the child.
5. Deter abductions and other unilateral removals of children undertaken
to obtain custody awards.
6. Avoid relitigation of custody decisions of other states in this state
insofar as feasible.
7. Facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states.
8. Promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual
assistance between the courts of this state and those of other states concerned
with the same child.
9. Make uniform the law of those states which enact it.
This chapter shall be construed to promote the general purposes stated
in this section.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1."Contestant" means a person, including a parent, who claims a right
to custody or visitation rights with respect to a child.
2."Custody determination" means a court decision and court orders
and instructions providing for the custody of a child, including visitation
rights; it does not include a decision relating to child support or any
other monetary obligation of any person.
3."Custody proceeding" includes proceedings in which a custody determination
is one of several issues, such as an action for divorce or separation, and
includes child neglect and dependency proceedings.
4."Decree" or "custody decree" means a custody determination
contained in a judicial decree or order made in a custody proceeding, and
includes an initial decree and a modification decree.
5."Home state" means the state in which the child, immediately preceding
the time involved, lived with the child's parents, a parent, or a person
acting as parent, for at least six consecutive months, and in the case of
a child less than six months old the state in which the child lived from
birth with any of the persons mentioned. Periods of temporary absence of
any of the named persons are counted as part of the six-month or other period.
6."Initial decree" means the first custody decree concerning a particular child.
7."Modification decree" means a custody decree which modifies or
replaces a prior decree, whether made by the court which rendered the prior
decree or by another court.
8."Physical custody" means actual possession and control of a child.
9."Person acting as parent" means a person, other than a parent,
who has physical custody of a child and who has either been awarded custody
by a court or claims a right to custody.
10."State" means any state, territory, or possession of the United
States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
1. A court of this state which is competent to decide
child custody matters
has jurisdiction to make a custody determination by initial or modification
a. This state is the home state of the child at the time of commencement
of the proceeding, or had been the child's home state within six months
before commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this
state because of removal or retention by a person claiming custody or for
other reasons, and a parent or person acting as parent continues to live
in this state; or
b. It is in the best interest of the child that a court of this state
assume jurisdiction because the child and the child's parents, or the child
and at least one contestant, have a significant connection with this state,
and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the
child's present or future care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or
c. The child is physically present in this state, and the child has
been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because
the child has been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse
or is otherwise neglected or dependent; or
d. It appears that no other state would have jurisdiction under prerequisites
substantially in accordance with paragraph "a", "b", or "c", or another
state has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state
is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child, and
it is in the best interest of the child that this court assume jurisdiction.
2. Except under paragraphs "c" and "d" of subsection 1, physical
presence in this state of the child, or of the child and one of the contestants,
is not alone sufficient to confer jurisdiction on a court of this state
to make a custody determination.
3. Physical presence of the child, while desirable, is not a prerequisite
for jurisdiction to determine custody.
598A.4 Notice--to whom.
Before making a decree under this chapter, reasonable notice and opportunity
to be heard shall be given to the contestants, any parent whose parental
rights have not been previously terminated, and any person who has physical
custody of the child. If any of these persons is outside this state, notice
and opportunity to be heard shall be given pursuant to section 598A.5.
Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction over a person outside this
state shall be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice,
and may be:
1. By personal delivery outside this state in the manner prescribed for
service of process within this state;
2. In the manner prescribed by the law of the place in which the service
is made for service of process in that place in an action in any of its
courts of general jurisdiction;
3. By publication and mailing in accordance with Iowa rules of civil procedure
60 to 63; or
Notice under this section shall be served, mailed, delivered, or last published
at least twenty days before any hearing in this state.
Proof of service outside this state may be made by affidavit of the individual
who made the service, or in the manner prescribed by the law of this state,
the order pursuant to which the service is made, or the law of the place
in which the service is made.
Notice is not required if a person submits to the jurisdiction of the court.
598A.6 Jurisdiction withheld.
A court of this state shall not exercise its jurisdiction under this chapter
if at the time of filing the petition a proceeding concerning the custody
of the child was pending in a court of another state exercising jurisdiction
substantially in conformity with this chapter, unless the proceeding is
stayed by the court of the other state because this state is a more appropriate
forum or for other reasons.
Before hearing the petition in a custody proceeding, the court shall examine
the pleadings and other information supplied by the parties under section
598A.9 and shall consult the child-custody registry established under section
598A.16 concerning the pendency of proceedings with respect to the child
in other states. If the court has reason to believe that proceedings may
be pending in another state it shall direct an inquiry to the state court
administrator or other appropriate official of the other state.
If the court is informed during the course of the proceeding that a proceeding
concerning the custody of the child was pending in another state before
the court assumed jurisdiction, it shall stay the proceeding and communicate
with the court in which the other proceeding is pending, to the end that
the issue may be litigated in the more appropriate forum and that information
may be exchanged in accordance with sections 598A.19 to 598A.22. If a court
of this state has made a custody decree before being informed of a pending
proceeding in a court of another state, it shall immediately inform that
court of the fact. If the court is informed that a proceeding was commenced
in another state after it assumed jurisdiction, it shall likewise inform
the other court, to the end that the issues may be litigated in the more
598A.7 Inconvenient forum.
1. A court which has jurisdiction under this chapter to make an initial
or modification decree may decline to exercise its jurisdiction any time
before making a decree if it finds that it is an inconvenient forum to make
a custody determination under the circumstances of the case, and that a
court of another state is a more appropriate forum.
2. A finding of inconvenient forum may be made upon the court's own motion
or upon motion of a party or a guardian ad litem or other representative of the child.
3. In determining if it is an inconvenient forum, the court shall consider
if it is in the interest of the child that another state assume jurisdiction.
For this purpose it may take into account the following factors, among others:
a. Whether another state is or recently was the child's home state.
b. Whether another state has a closer connection with the child and
the child's family or with the child and one or more of the contestants.
c. Whether substantial evidence concerning the child's present or
future care, protection, training, and personal relationships is more readily
available in another state.
d. Whether the parties have agreed on another forum which is no less appropriate.
e. Whether the exercise of jurisdiction by a court of this state would
contravene any of the purposes stated in section 598A.1.
4. Before determining whether to decline or retain jurisdiction, the court
may communicate with a court of another state and exchange information pertinent
to the assumption of jurisdiction by either court, with a view to assuring
that jurisdiction will be exercised by the more appropriate court and that
a forum will be available to the parties.
5. If the court finds that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court
of another state is a more appropriate forum, it may dismiss the proceedings,
or it may stay the proceedings upon condition that a custody proceeding
be promptly commenced in another named state, or upon any other conditions
which may be just and proper, including the condition that a moving party
give consent and submit to the jurisdiction of the other forum.
6. The court may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this chapter
if a custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another
proceeding, while retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.
7. If it appears to the court that it is clearly an inappropriate forum,
it may require the party who commenced the proceedings to pay, in addition
to the costs of the proceedings in this state, necessary travel and other
expenses, including attorneys' fees, incurred by other parties or their
witnesses. Payment is to be made to the clerk of the court for remittance
to the proper party.
8. Upon dismissal or stay of proceedings under this section, the court
shall inform the court found to be the more appropriate forum of this fact,
or if the court which would have jurisdiction in the other state is not
known, shall transmit the information to the court administrator or other
appropriate official for forwarding to the appropriate court.
9. Any communication received from another state informing this state
of a finding of inconvenient forum because a court of this state is the
more appropriate forum shall be filed in the custody registry of the appropriate
court. Upon assuming jurisdiction, the court of this state shall inform
the original court of this fact.
598A.8 Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.
1. If the petitioner for an initial decree has wrongfully taken the child
from another state or has engaged in similar reprehensible conduct, the
court may decline to exercise jurisdiction if this is just and proper under
2. Unless required in the interest of the child, the court shall not exercise
its jurisdiction to modify a custody decree of another state if the petitioner,
without consent of the person entitled to custody, has improperly removed
the child from the physical custody of the person entitled to custody or
has improperly retained the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment
of physical custody. If the petitioner has violated any other provision
of a custody decree of another state, the court may decline to exercise
its jurisdiction if this is just and proper under the circumstances.
3. In appropriate cases a court dismissing a petition under this section
may charge the petitioner with necessary travel and other expenses, including
attorneys' fees, incurred by other parties or their witnesses.
598A.9 Information submitted to court.
1. Every party in a custody proceeding, in that party's first pleading
or in an affidavit attached to that pleading, shall give information under
oath as to the child's present address, the places where the child has lived
within the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons
with whom the child has lived during that period. In this pleading or affidavit
every party shall further declare under oath whether the party:
a. Has participated as a party, witness or in any other capacity,
in any other litigation concerning the custody of the same child in this
or any other state.
b. Has information of any custody proceeding concerning the child
pending in a court of this or any other state.
c. Knows of any person not a party to the proceedings who has physical
custody of the child or claims to have custody or visitation rights with
respect to the child.
2. If the declaration as to any of the above items is in the affirmative
the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by
the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of
the information furnished and as to other matters pertinent to the court's
jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.
3. Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any custody
proceeding concerning the child in this or any other state, of which that
party obtained information during this proceeding.
598A.10 Additional parties.
If the court learns from information furnished by the parties pursuant to
section 598A.9, or from other sources, that a person not a party to the
custody proceeding has physical custody of the child or claims to have
custody or visitation rights with respect to the child, it shall order that
person to be joined as a party and to be duly notified of the pendency of
the proceeding and of that person's joinder as a party. If the person joined
as a party is outside this state, the person shall be served with process
or otherwise notified in accordance with section 598A.5.
1. The court may order any party to the proceeding who is in this state
to appear personally before the court. If that party has physical custody
of the child, the court may order that person to appear personally with the child.
2. If a party to the proceeding whose presence is desired by the court
is outside this state with or without the child, the court may order that
the notice given under section 598A.5 include a statement directing that
party to appear personally with or without the child, and declaring that
failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to that party.
3. If a party to the proceeding who is outside this state is directed
to appear or desires to appear personally before the court with or without
the child, the court may require another party to pay to the clerk of the
court travel and other necessary expenses of the party so appearing and
of the child, if this is just and proper under the circumstances.
598A.12 Effect of custody decree.
A custody decree rendered by a court of this state which had jurisdiction
under section 598A.3 binds all parties who have been served in this state
or notified in accordance with section 598A.5, or who have submitted to
the jurisdiction of the court, and who have been given an opportunity to
be heard. As to these parties the custody decree is conclusive as to all
issues of law and fact decided and as to the custody determination made,
unless and until that determination is modified pursuant to law.
598A.13 Out-of-state custody decree.
The courts of this state shall recognize and enforce an initial or modification
decree of a court of another state which had assumed jurisdiction under
statutory provisions substantially in accordance with this chapter, or which
was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards
of this chapter, so long as this decree has not been modified in accordance
with jurisdictional standards substantially similar to those of this chapter.
598A.14 Modification of custody decree of another state.
If a court of another state has made a custody decree, a court of this state
shall not modify that decree unless it appears to the court of this state
that the court which rendered the decree does not now have jurisdiction
under jurisdictional prerequisites substantially in accordance with this
chapter, or has declined to assume jurisdiction to modify the decree, and
the court of this state has jurisdiction.
If a court of this state is authorized under this section and section 598A.8
to modify a custody decree of another state, it shall give due consideration
to the transcript of the record and other documents of all previous proceedings
submitted to it in accordance with section 598A.22.
598A.15 Filing and enforcement of out-of-state decrees.
A certified copy of a custody decree of another state may be filed in the
office of the clerk of any district court of this state. The clerk shall
treat the decree in the same manner as a custody decree of the district
court of this state. A custody decree so filed has the same effect and shall
be enforced in like manner as a custody decree rendered by a court of this state.
A person violating a custody decree of another state, which makes it necessary
to enforce the decree in this state, may be required to pay necessary travel
and other expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by the party entitled
to the custody or by that party's witnesses.
598A.16 Registry of out-of-state decrees.
The clerk of each district court shall maintain a registry in which shall
be entered the following:
1. Certified copies of custody decrees of other states received for filing.
2. Communications as to the pendency of custody proceedings in other states.
3. Communications concerning a finding of inconvenient forum by a court
of another state.
4. Other communications or documents concerning custody proceedings in
another state which may affect the jurisdiction of a court of this state
or the disposition to be made by it in a custody proceeding.
598A.17 Certified copies.
The clerk of the district court of this state, at the request of the court
of another state or at the request of any person who is affected by or has a
legitimate interest in a custody decree, shall certify and forward a copy
of the decree to that court or person.
598A.18 Taking testimony in another state.
In addition to other procedural devices available to a party, any party
to the proceeding or a guardian ad litem or other representative of the
child may adduce testimony of witnesses, including parties and the child, by
deposition or otherwise, in another state. The court on its own motion may
direct that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may
prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony shall be taken.
598A.19 Hearings in another state.
A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state
to hold a hearing to adduce evidence, to order a party to produce or give
evidence under other procedures of that state, or to have social studies
made with respect to the custody of a child involved in proceedings pending
in the court of this state; and to forward to the court of this state certified
copies of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise
adduced, or any social studies prepared in compliance with the request.
The cost of the services may be assessed against the parties or, if necessary,
ordered paid by the county.
A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state
to order a party to custody proceedings pending in the court of this state
to appear in the proceedings, and if that party has physical custody of
the child, to appear with the child. The request may state that travel and
other necessary expenses of the party and of the child whose appearance
is desired will be assessed against another party or will otherwise be paid.
H3>598A.20 Assistance to courts of other states.
Upon request of the court of another state, the courts of this state which
are competent to hear custody matters may order a person in this state to
appear at a hearing to adduce evidence or to produce or give evidence under
other procedures available in this state, or may order social studies to
be made for use in a custody proceeding in another state. A certified copy
of the transcript of the record of the hearing or the evidence otherwise
adduced, and any social studies prepared, shall be forwarded by the clerk
of the court to the requesting court.
A person within this state may voluntarily give testimony or a statement
in this state for use in a custody proceeding outside this state.
Upon request of the court of another state, a competent court of this state
may order a person in this state to appear alone or with the child in a
custody proceeding in another state. The court may condition compliance
with the request upon assurance by the other state that state travel and
other necessary expenses will be advanced or reimbursed.
598A.21 Preservation of documents.
In any custody proceeding in this state, the court shall preserve the pleadings,
orders and decrees, and any record that has been made of its hearings, social
studies, and other pertinent documents until the child reaches eighteen
years of age. Upon appropriate request of the court of another state, the
court shall forward to the other court certified copies of any or all of
598A.22 Request for records.
If a custody decree has been rendered in another state concerning a child
involved in a custody proceeding pending in a court of this state, the court
of this state upon taking jurisdiction of the case shall request of the
court of the other state a certified copy of the transcript of any court
record and other documents mentioned in section 598A.21.
598A.23 International application.
The general policies of this chapter extend to the international area. The
provisions of this chapter relating to the recognition and enforcement of
custody decrees of other states apply to custody decrees and decrees involving
legal institutions similar in nature to custody institutions rendered by
appropriate authorities of other nations, if reasonable notice and opportunity
to be heard were given to all affected persons.
H3>598A.24 Judicial priority.
Upon the request of a party to a custody proceeding which raises a question
of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this chapter, the case shall
be given calendar priority and handled expeditiously.
(Make sure to consult a lawyer or check your local laws for any changes.)