Changes to Child Support Laws in 2015 and 2016
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
In 2015 there were some changes to Iowa child support law. The major change makes it easier to suspend child support.
For several years it has been possible to stop a current support order if both parties agreed and certain other requirements were met. This is called suspension of support and is done through the Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU). As of January 1, 2016, both parties no longer have to agree to the suspension. Now, if just one of the parties wants to stop the order, it may be possible to do so. Certain requirements must be met. These include:
- The child is currently living with the party ordered to pay support (the Obligor) and has been living with the Obligor for more than 60 consecutive days.
- There is no custody order in place.
- The child is not receiving public assistance (FIP or Medicaid) unless the Obligor is part of the same household as the child.
- It is reasonable to expect that the basis for suspension will continue for not less than six months.
- The Obligor signs a notarized affidavit and it is submitted to CSRU.
- No prior suspension has been requested during the previous two years.
After the application has been submitted, CSRU makes a decision about whether all these requirements have been met. If not, the request is denied and the Obligor is notified in writing why. This decision cannot be appealed.
- If the requirements are met, CSRU notifies the person receiving the support (the Obligee). Notification can be through certified mail or by personal service.
- The Obligee then has 20 days to object in writing by telling CSRU in a notarized statement that one or more of the requirements have not been met. If the Obligee does object, the request to suspend child support will be denied and both parties are notified in writing. This notice will also inform both parties that they can still file something with the Court on their own or through their own attorney.
- If the Obligee does not object, CSRU prepares an order for the Judge to sign temporarily suspending ongoing or accruing support. During the six months after the temporary suspension is signed, either party, or CSRU, can ask for reinstatement of the child support. The application to reinstate is mailed to the other person who then has 10 days to object. If an objection is filed, a hearing is scheduled.
- If no application to reinstate is filed, the temporary suspension automatically becomes permanent and the child support order is terminated.
The second change in the law involves genetic testing. Generally, if a person contests paternity, genetic testing is ordered and the alleged father, the mother and the child all have to comply with testing. Because of the change in the law, a mother and child who have already given genetic samples in a previous case, do not have to give them again. Instead, the ones submitted previously can be used, if they are available.
The last change concerns international collection of child support. Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, orders from different states can be enforced in Iowa and Iowa orders can be enforced in other states. Under the changes, it is now easier to recognize and enforce support orders from other countries. The same is true for orders from the United States. If a person from the United States needs to enforce an order in a foreign country, it will be easier for the person to do so.
These last two changes were effective on July 1, 2015.
- Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
- To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:
- Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or
- apply online at iowalegalaid.org