In Iowa, the crime of Violating custodial order is defined by Iowa Code section 710.6 as follows:
A relative of a child who, acting in violation of an order of any court which fixes, permanently or temporarily, the custody or physical care of the child in another, takes and conceals the child, within or outside the state, from the person having lawful custody or physical care, commits a class “D” felony.
A parent of a child living apart from the other parent who conceals that child or causes that child’s whereabouts to be unknown to a parent with visitation rights or parental time in violation of a court order granting visitation rights or parental time and without the other parent’s consent, commits a serious misdemeanor.
The Class D felony version of of violating custodial order is punishable by a 5 year prison sentence in Iowa, while the serious misdemeanor version can result in a sentence of up to 1 year in the county jail.
In addition to the possible criminal penalties, a person convicted of violating custodial order in Iowa will likely find themselves facing a serious disadvantage in future custody cases. As such, the impact of a conviction for violating custodial order can be much more significant than the (already serious) possible criminal charges. It is common for those who are accused or convicted of violating custodial order to end up facing a protective order and loss of visitation (or the requirement that visits be supervised).