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Reviewing Iowa’s parental relocation law

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2020 | Firm News

In general, those currently living in Urbandale (and throughout the rest of the U.S., for that matter) are a people on the move. According to information shared by the website, over 10% of the U.S. population moves every year. Of those who relocate, 15% move to another state. A long-distance move can often offer a fresh start to one who has gone through a divorce, yet when they share children with their former spouse, relocating can be complicated. 

According to Section 598.21D of the Iowa Code, local family courts consider changing a child’s residence by a distance of over 150 miles to be a significant change in circumstances. In such a situation, the court having jurisdiction over a custody case will typically look to modify a couple’s current custody agreement to make it possible (as much as is reasonable) for the non-relocating parent to remain a consistent presence in their children’s lives. Some of the solutions that it may consider can include allowing for frequent telephone contact between the non-relocating parent and the kids (on top of their regularly scheduled custodial or visitation time) and extended custody periods during school and holiday breaks. Typically, the financial burden of transporting the children in-between visits with both parents will be split equally between the parents. 

A divorced parent who seeks to relocate cannot simply move away with the kids without providing notice. If that happens, such an action may be considered when determining how to modify a custody arrangement going forward (which may negatively impact one’s case). If the relocating parent has a history of interfering with the other parent’s contact with the kids, the court may require them to post a cash bond to serve as a deterrent against such action.