In Iowa, both parents are held accountable for taking care of their child. As with other states, the parent who does not have custody of the child or children is the one who pays child support. However, there are a few different factors that determine how much is paid.
The law assumes that the parent with custody of the child or children already spends the appropriate amount of money on their child. As such, the parent without custody will pay the other spouse to help take care of the child. However, when the parents hold joint custody over the child, the parent who makes more money is the one who pays child support, but only enough to make up the difference between what each parent must provide.
Once a child turns 18, child support payments are no longer required unless the child is still in high school or has a disability that requires a parent’s continued support.
Custody of a child is determined by the court in the manner of the best interest of the child. The court will examine both parents, and whoever is able to best provide for the child or children will be granted custody. There is, however, the option for joint custody in which both parents have the rights to make decisions on behalf of their child.
If a child is born and the mother is not married to the father, then the mother will usually receive custody of the child. She then has the right to make decisions on behalf of the child and the right to take care of the baby. The mother will solely have the rights to the child unless the father acknowledges paternity, in which case both parents will have the rights to make decisions.