A new law tells judges in custody cases to consider if a parent let a child be around a sex offender. The change in Iowa custody law took effect July 1, 2012. It adds to the long list of factors a judge can consider to decide what custody arrangement is in the best interest of a child. The new law allows the judge to consider if a parent let someone have custody, control or unsupervised access to a child while knowing the person is required to register as a sex offender or is registered as a sex offender.
Iowa law always let judges consider evidence about care of the children when deciding the best custody arrangement. The new law tells the judge to pay special attention to whether a parent has allowed the children to be around a sex offender. This does not mean a parent who lets a sex offender be around the children automatically loses custody. It does mean the judge can place special importance on this factor when deciding which parent should have custody of the children.
If you have children, make sure people taking care of your children are not on the sex offender registry and are not required to register as a sex offender. Talk to anyone who will be providing care for your children and ask about any criminal history. You can also check online to see if someone is on the registry. Go to the National Sex Offender Public Website at www.nsopw.gov.
Last Review 8/27/12