The Iowa Legislature passed the House File 610 last year, transforming the way conservatorships for minor children and adults are handled in the state. The novel law, which took effect January 1st of this year, contains the following:
- Replaces outdated terminology to more current phrases, such as respondent to proposed ward and protected person to ward;
- Demands the court complete a statewide background check of all persons proposed to serve as conservators, including an examination of criminal records, dependent adult abuse, child abuse, and sexual offender registries. The petitioner, or the individual requesting conservatorship, must pay a $15.00 fee for the background check;
- States an adult respondent is always entitled to a lawyer unless the respondent is also a petitioner. A minor respondent may also be entitled to a lawyer in specific instances. The court can grant a respondent a lawyer who cannot afford to hire one. The lawyer’s task is habitually to advise the respondent and advocate for their requests;
- Prior to a conservatorship, an in-person hearing must take place in front of a judge. At said hearing, the petitioner can tell the judge why exactly the conservatorship was requested and other parties can argue against the conservatorship.
To learn more about the conservatorship law, click here.
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