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IOWA SUPREME COURT RELEASES SUPERVISORY ORDER RE: CHILD CUSTODY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

| Mar 30, 2020 | Barb Wallace, Family Law |

Chief Justice Christensen on Saturday, March 28, signed a supervisory order regarding modifications to certain court functions and forms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

ORDER LINKED HERE:
www.iowacourts.gov/static/media/cms/3_B2DC47BA378E3.pdf

There are updates regarding criminal trial postponements, signatures on civil court documents, revisions to eliminate mandatory notarization, and guidance on child custody schedules.

The full text of par. 6 relating to child custody, care or visitation is below:

  1. 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.

By: Barbara K. Wallace 

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