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A Child-Focused Resource for the Family Law Community

Iowa Center for Children’s Justice is an innovative, caring, and knowledgeable resource for children and their families experiencing high-conflict divorce or custody disputes. We seek to achieve child-focused resolutions to these disputes in order to build a future for children and their families that is healthy for everyone involved.

What We Do

Iowa Center for Children’s Justice elevates children’s views in custody matters and promotes child-focused solutions through legal representation, education and alternative dispute resolution.

Legal Representation for Children

Our attorneys may be appointed by the court to represent children in high-conflict divorce or custody matters or parents and attorneys may independently seek our services. We can provide full representation throughout the case, or a limited scope representation for specified parts of a case. Our fees are on a sliding scale based on parent income. To inquire about representation, complete our inquiry form.

Who We Represent
  • A school aged child who resides in Polk County or Dallas County;
  • A divorce, custody or modification, child guardianship, or contempt is pending; and
  • A case is high conflict or another factor warrants a child having representation.
Divorce Workshops for Children

Completion of our divorce workshop is required for children whose parents file for divorce in Polk or Dallas County. In this workshop, trained facilitators provide caring and respectful age-appropriate education about divorce. To register for an upcoming workshop, visit our registration page for details.

What Your Client Can Expect from Divorce Workshops

Children will participate with others their own age to learn and share about divorce in a supportive and informative environment. They will learn that other children their age are going through the same experience, as well as learning positive coping skills for the lifestyle changes resulting from divorce.

Child-Focused Mediation

Attorneys work with parents involved in custody disputes to find solutions that benefit the entire family. Mediation can be used as an alternative to the courts or to fulfill a legal requirement of the divorce process. To inquire about child-focused mediation, complete our inquiry form.

How Our Mediation is Different

In addition to caucus style mediation typically practiced in Polk and Dallas counties, Iowa Center for Children’s Justice offers these hard-to-find options:

  • Child-inclusive mediation
  • Two mediator team approach
  • Single- or extended multi-session mediation
Neutral Evaluation

Our Neutral Evaluation is an opportunity for parents and attorneys involved in a divorce or custody case to receive impartial evaluation of the potential outcome. Early neutral evaluation is voluntary, confidential, and can occur any time after a case has been filed in court.

Evaluation is provided by Diane Dornburg, managing attorney for a flat fee of $500 for a 3-hour session. Additional fees may apply for additional specialists, such as mental health professionals. To inquire about neutral evaluation, complete our inquiry form.

What Your Clients Can Expect from Neutral Evaluation
  • Evaluation by an attorney, who may partner with a mental health professional or other team member with extensive experience in family law
  • Identification of the strengths and challenges of both sides of the the case
  • A written evaluation offering a potential outcome of the case
Parenting Coordination

Attorneys work with parents post-divorce to help them resolve day-to-day parenting conflicts and issues with adhering to their parenting plan. Parenting coordination can be court ordered or voluntarily sought by parents.

Parenting coordination is provided by Diane Dornburg, managing attorney at a rate of $200/hour. To inquire about parenting coordination, complete our inquiry form.

What Your Clients Can Expect from Parenting Coordination
  • Attorneys take a child-focused, collaborative approach to resolving parenting issues
  • Parents learn communication and conflict resolution skills
  • Parenting coordination is typically done in a series of 10 sessions lasting one hour each.

helpful resources

  • Child Representation Roster

  • List of Parenting Coordinators

  • Sample Motion for Appointment and Order

  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

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