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Iowa

598.41  Custody of children.
1. a.  The court, insofar as is reasonable and in the best interest of the child, shall order the custody award, including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, which will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage, and which will encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact with one parent.
2. a.  On the application of either parent, the court shall consider granting joint custody in cases where the parents do not agree to joint custody.
b.  If the court does not grant joint custody under this subsection, the court shall cite clear and convincing evidence, pursuant to the factors in subsection 3, that joint custody is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the child to the extent that the legal custodial relationship between the child and a parent should be severed.
5.  Joint physical care may be in the best interest of the child, but joint legal custody does not require joint physical care. When the court determines such action would be in the best interest of the child and would preserve the relationship between each parent and the child, joint physical care may be awarded to both joint custodial parents or physical care may be awarded to one joint custodial parent. If one joint custodial parent is awarded physical care, the parent responsible for providing physical care shall support the other parent's relationship with the child. Physical care awarded to one parent does not affect the other parent's rights and responsibilities as a joint legal custodian of the child. Rights and responsibilities as joint legal custodian of the child include, but are not limited to, equal participation in decisions affecting the child's legal status, medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious instruction.

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