Child Custody and Visitation during Coronavirus in Iowa
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
(Update: As of April 2, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court combined all previous Orders into the April 2, 2020 Supervisory Order. The language below can be found in paragraph 34 of the April 2nd Order.)
The Iowa Supreme Court issued a Supervisory Order on March 28, 2020, to address how child custody and visitation may be affected by the current Coronavirus Pandemic. The short answer is: continue as normal. The directive from the Supreme Court is to continue all visitation and custody a schedules as though school is in session. The Supreme Court specifically states that parents can agrees to changes in their parenting schedule. The relevant portion of the Supervisory Order:
"6. Child custody, care, or visitation. For purposes of determining a parent’s right of physical custody, care or visitation to a child under a previously entered court order, any custody, visitation or care schedule that is related to a school schedule shall be uniformly interpreted to refer to the school schedule for the school where the child attends that was in place prior to any school closure or suspension caused by the COVID-19 virus. Custody, care or visitation of a child shall follow a schedule as if school is in session and shall not be impacted or modified by the school closure. A school closure caused by the COVID-19 virus does not extend or modify a parent’s custody, care or visitation beyond any period designated in a prior court order. A school closure caused by the COVID-19 virus does not amount to an extension of spring break or the beginning of summer break. A parent currently exercising custody, care or visitation of a child in violation of a court order should immediately return the child to the original court ordered schedule. Nothing contained in this order prevents both parents of a minor child from mutually agreeing to modify a previous court order. Nothing contained in this order prevents a court from altering, amending, modifying, clarifying or enforcing court orders within its sound discretion and consistent with the law of this State. Further, this order does not limit the ability of the court to hear and address emergency matters on a case-by-case basis in the discretion of the court." (Iowa Supreme Court Supervisory Order, March 28, 2020). To view the entire Supervisory Order or other Supervisory Orders regarding court services during the Covid-19 Pandemic, go to http://www.iowacourts.gov
This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer legal advice. Each situation is different and if you have legal questions you should contact an attorney.