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Iowa Child Support
Child Support in Iowa

The supreme court of Iowa enacts Child support guidelines by court rule. The guidelines are based on the Income Shares model, based on gross income.

Public assistance and the income of stepparents is not included in calculating child support in Iowa, but both parents' incomes are.

To calculate child support in Iowa under the current guidelines, a party must determine how many children are involved. This does not only include those who are part of the current support obligation, but it also includes children from previous relations and who are under the care of one of the spouses in the present divorce. Thus, children from a previous relationship who are covered by an already-existing child support order must be considered and the amount paid. The children of a subsequent marriage are also considered.

The cost of health insurance on behalf of children from this relationship may be deducted from gross wages. By the same token, if the other parent pays for this coverage, this is deducted from that parent's gross income and this will affect both contributions.

Iowa bases child support on gross income, but allows deductions for income taxes, FICA, pension deductions, union dues, any medical support paid under a previous child support order, and any child care costs.

Iowa child support is typically calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet. The worksheet will generate an appropriate Iowa child support obligation according to each spouse's income and other relative numeric factors such as taxes paid and retirement contributions, etc. Once this amount is determined it is essential to look at any appropriate Iowa child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation.

Either or both parents may be ordered to pay a reasonable and necessary amount of child support. Child support payments may be ordered to be paid directly to the court. Specific Child Support Guideline Charts are available here. The amount of child support determined by use of the Guideline Charts is presumed to be correct, but may be adjusted for fairness or special needs of the child. [Iowa Code Annotated; Section 598.21].

Iowa uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must pay. The Income Shares Model estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. This estimated amount is then divided proportionally to the parents according to each parent's income. This is easy to do using the Iowa child support worksheet. Pay records typically substantiate the estimated incomes.

This routine takes into account both parents' gross income and applies a percentage to it based on the number of minor children they have together. The court takes the combined income of both parents and works out the proportion each contributes. That figure is then divided proportionately based on each parent's ability to pay and which parent has primary custody.

If the noncustodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the greater portion of the child support obligation; conversely, if the noncustodial parent has a lower income than the custodial, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the smaller portion of the child support obligation.

Calculate Iowa Child Support

Other Expenses and Deductions

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Iowa considers Secondary Education Support an extraordinary expense. Extraordinary medical expenses are a mandatory deduction.

Child Support Enforcement

In Iowa Child Support Enforcement (Child Support Recovery Unit) is under the umbrella of the Department of Human Services.

CSRU assists families to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency by establishing and enforcing child and medical support orders and processing support payments.

CSRU services include locating noncustodial parents and the identification of their sources of income (including employers), the establishment of paternity, the establishment and modification of support orders, and the registration of other states' orders for enforcement or modification.

The Child Support Recovery Unit has 23 offices throughout the state, organized into 4 regions, which establish and enforce child support.

Local offices are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST Monday - Friday, except state holidays. The toll free child support automated information line is 1-888-229-9223.

More information about Iowa Child Support Enforcement can also be found at their website.


Child support ends when the child turns 18.

Deviation Factors

The Iowa Child Support Guidelines are presumed fair, but under Iowa Code Section 598.21, Annotated, courts may modify or adjust payments "as required by special circumstance or fairness." The need for health insurance may result in credits or payments.

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