Understanding Child Support in Iowa
Not all families will need to establish child support payments, but when there’s an imbalance of incomes or custodial time, a court will often require one parent to supplement the income of the other to meet the child’s needs. The amount that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent will depend on how many nights the child spends with each parent, the net income of both parents, any additional children that either parent is supporting, and additional costs paid by either parent such as alimony, childcare, or insurance.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
A child support modification may be requested when one parent experiences a substantial change in their income or financial responsibilities, or if one parent has legitimate reason to believe the amount they’re receiving or paying is unjustified. This could happen if one parent loses or gains employment, has another child with a new partner, receives an inheritance, remarries, or moves. Modifications may also be necessary to meet changes in the child's needs, such as a new health condition. Any modification needs to be approved by the court, but with any change, you’ll need to prove that the needs of the child will still be met.
Termination of Child Support
Iowa state law requires that both parents uphold their legal obligation to support their minor children, regardless of whether they remain married to one another. This can extend to children past the age of 18 if they’re still in high school or have special needs. That said, most child support obligations can be terminated when the child turns 18; however, this usually requires one parent to make a formal request with the court that it be ended. Termination may also be granted through a modification request.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Many times divorced parents are able to reach an agreement on child support payments without the need of a lawyer. However, when the two parties cannot agree, it can be useful to hire a family law attorney to help. Many times in these situations, there’s a lack of communication between the two parents, and by using a child support lawyer as an intermediary, it can reduce stress and tension. An attorney can also use the process of discovery if you feel that your co-parent is hiding assets from you in an attempt to reduce their child support obligation.
When I work with families, I treat them as I would want my own family treated — with compassion, understanding, and above all, with the health and well-being of the children in mind.