As any parent knows, raising a child costs a lot of money. Sometimes doing it on your own can seem overwhelming, or even impossible. If you are a parent going through a divorce or a single parent who was never married, you can get assistance from the child’s other parent in the form of child support.
To collect child support in Iowa, you must obtain a child support order from a court. A judge must issue the child support order for it to be enforced or for any action to be taken if the other party does not pay. Legally, children are entitled to child support from the time they are born until they turn 18.
When it comes to paying child support, a parent who is given primary physical care of the child(ren) receives child support from the visiting parent. If you’re designated as the primary physical care provider of your child(ren), you have the right to child support from the child’s other parent.
A Case of 50/50 custody
In the case of parents having 50/50 joint physical care (a/k/a shared physical care), the parent whose income is higher will generally be required to pay child support.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Each state has specific guidelines that calculate the amount of child support a parent will owe. In Iowa, the amount of support is affected by
- The parent’s income
- The number of children
- The cost of adding the children to health insurance plans
- The number of nights the child spends with a visiting parent
- Children from another relationship who receive support from a party to present case
- Job related child care costs
- Union dues
- Some types of mandatory retirement contributions
The amount of child support that a parent owes can also change over the years. These changes occur in situations such as significant increases or decreases in income or a change in the needs of the children. If the non-custodial parent were ever to gain custody of the children, they would no longer be required to pay child support.
Child Support in Divorce
If you are petitioning to receive child support in a divorce case, the child support order will likely be created as a part of the divorce proceedings. Child support will likely be part of the conversation around your shared co-parenting plan. As stated above, you can only petition for child support if you have been granted custody of your child(ren).
Child Support for Unmarried Parents
If you wish to petition for child support but were never married to the child’s other parent, you must go to family court to request the child support order. In these cases, the other party’s parental status must be established before the child support order can be enforced. This includes:
- Acknowledgement of being the child’s parent
- A DNA test proving the individual is the child’s parent
Once the court establishes the parental status of the other party, they will issue the child support order, and proceedings will continue similarly to in a divorce.
Child Support Collection In Iowa
The Iowa Department of Human Services houses the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit, which helps families establish child support orders. They also enforce child support orders and will take action against a parent if they stop paying child support. Your local child support recovery unit coordinates with child support recovery units from other states to collect child support when parents reside in different states or are in the military.
Work with an Expert
Get the support you need while petitioning for child support by working with an expert in Family Law. Daniel Willems will help you navigate the world of child support orders and fight for you to achieve the outcome you desire.