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Remedies for Iowa Protective Orders Explained

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
December 3, 2019

In this article, we will answer the question, “What types of remedies are available for Iowa Protective Orders?” We’ll address:

  • What remedies are available for protective orders in Iowa?
  • Who has rights to a home after a protective order in Iowa?
  • How do Iowa courts determine who to award possession of a residence to if both parties have a right of occupancy?
  • What happens to children after a protective order has been issued in Iowa?
  • Stay-away orders in Iowa
  • Other remedies for Iowa protective orders

Protective orders are court orders intended to stop current and prevent future abuse and harassment between family and/or household members. To learn more about protective orders in Iowa, read “What Constitutes “Abuse” for the Purpose of an Iowa Protective Order.”

What remedies are available for protective orders in Iowa?

Remedies are means to achieve the intent of a protective order. They address different scenarios that may arise after a protective order has been issued, such as:

  • Who has a right to a shared residence?
  • How is child custody affected by a protective order?
  • What happens if a petitioner and respondent work together or attend school together?
  • Will the respondent have to abide by other specific terms, such as attending counseling.

Who has rights to a home after a protective order in Iowa?

There are several factors taken into consideration when determining who has the right of occupancy after a protective order has been filed in Iowa. First, the right of occupancy must be established. A party has a right of occupancy to a residence if they, their spouse, or a person with a legal duty to support them or their minor child solely or jointly owns or leases the property in question. This means that a petitioner may have a right of occupancy to a residence solely owned by the respondent.

How do Iowa courts determine who to award possession of a residence to if both parties have a right of occupancy?

If both parties involved in a protective order have a right of occupancy, the court will consider the effect relocation would have on both parties, based on their employment, relationships to nearby family, involvement in the community, and the cost and safety of remaining or moving from the residency in question. If minor children are involved, the effect that staying or relocating would have on them is also taken into consideration. If the courts grant the petitioner exclusive possession, the respondent may rebut. If the court grants the respondent exclusive possession, he or she may be required to provide alternative housing for the petitioner.

What happens to children after a protective order has been issued in Iowa?

In most situations, if a petitioner has children, they will request the protective order to cover them as well. Temporary custody can be awarded with a protective order. Just as the term suggests, this means the petitioner has temporary sole custody of any shared children with the respondent. But this doesn’t mean they can move or leave the state. The respondent may be awarded visitation rights.

Stay-away orders in Iowa

It’s not uncommon for a petitioner and respondent to share a common location other than their home, like their place of employment or a school. In these situations, a stay-away order remedy may be placed. This prohibits the respondent from coming within a certain distance of the petitioner. This could require the respondent to seek other employment or change schools.

It’s also not uncommon for petitioners to believe respondents have violated this type of remedy, especially when they live in close proximity to each other. Before deciding if a respondent has violated a stay-away order, a court will consider the size of the public area where the supposed violation took place, along with the number of people present and the other circumstances surrounding the incident. 

For example, a respondent waiting next to a petitioner’s car in an isolated parking lot after work will likely be considered a violation while a petitioner noticing a respondent at a local festival may not be a violation.

Other Remedies for Iowa Protective Orders

Iowa courts may include additional remedies besides exclusive possession of a residence and stay-away orders. These could include whether a respondent needs to seek counseling, exclusive possession of personal property (such as a vehicle), restrictions on possession of firearms, or injunctions requiring the respondent to engage in or refrain from specific actions.

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Who has rights to a home after a protective order in Iowa?

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