We are entering a pivotal time in Iowa history where the hope of outdated, unjust, and inhumane custodial laws being amended to reflect today’s society is becoming a possibility, and perhaps an eventual probability.

Recently, SSB3154 was proposed by Iowa State Senator and Judiciary Chairman Brad Zaun. SSB3154 is a proposed bill that would amend current Iowa custody code to a Rebuttable Presumption of Shared Parenting. For those who are unaware or uninformed, this would presume that when joint legal custody is awarded to both parents and deemed to be in the best interest of the children, joint physical custody would also be presumed to be in the best interest of the children.

Inevitably, some will say that this could allow an unsuitable parent to have the same amount of time with the children as a suitable parent. This is where the rebuttal is emphasized. Even those, including myself, who have prayed for the day of a presumption of shared parenting being legally recognized as in the true best interest of children, would never support or condone an unfit parent to be awarded the same timeshare as a fit parent. This is not a punishment to that parent, it is for the safety of the children. After all, custody cases are meant to focus on the children and their well-being. However, today’s Iowa custody court is more concerned with the history of the parents than the history of the parents with their children.

SSB3154 attempts to create a cohesive and workable co-parenting plan between the parents, rather than condoning and enabling hostility, disparagement, and rebuking of a once best friend and closest ally. If rebutted, it would rely more on objectivity of the evidence and less on subjectivity of the court, subsequently decreasing the blatant judicial overreach seen often in custodial cases, by requiring clear and convincing evidence if one parent opposes joint physical care and not simply basing a major life-altering decision on a preponderance of evidence.

SSB3154 passed Iowa State Senate subcommittee unanimously, is sponsored by Iowa State Senate Judiciary Committee, and for the first time in history will be put to vote on the Iowa State Senate floor.

Please contact our Iowa State Senators and State Representatives via phone, email, or meeting to show your support for SSB3154 to right the wrongs of current Iowa custody code that has oppressed and greatly affected men, women, and children alike for far too long. For more information on contact information, please visit: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/informationOnLegislators/allLegislators

Dr. Reese R. Petersen,


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