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At the height of the marriage ceremony, it's hard to imagine that one day everything will end, and a fairy tale will turn into a nightmare. However, this often happens, marriage breaks down and begins to poison the lives of spouses. But you do not have to suffer or experience difficulties, divorce gives you a chance to start a new life. The procedure for the dissolution of marriage in Iowa is not a fast process, but as a result you will receive the long-awaited freedom. Divorce can be of different types, depending on the circumstances that are involved here. Further in the article, we will sort out all aspects of the dissolution of marriage in Iowa and tell you what steps need to be taken in order to do everything right.

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Iowa divorce details

Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in Iowa

If we talk about the dissolution of marriage, then this process, which can last forever. It is not uncommon for a person to remain with nothing after a divorce, having spent all of his / her savings on difficult legal proceedings. But in the modern world this should not be the norm. That is why courts recommend that couples go through an uncontested divorce. Let's see what is the difference between the contested and uncontested divorce.

In the contested divorce, all disputable issues are decided in the courtroom, in other words, spouses express their point of view, and the judge makes decisions based on an analysis of many factors that took place in the marriage. That's why the contested divorce is so long and so expensive. Time depends on the number of disputed issues and their complexity.

In case of uncontested divorce, all disputes between the spouses are decided before the petition is submitted to the court. Therefore, the uncontested divorce is so quick and simple. Spouses conclude an agreement on all controversial issues and file it with a lawsuit to dissolve the marriage, and the judge in this case only makes the final decree.

Uncontested Divorce in Iowa

As we said above, in order for a divorce to be uncontested, there should be no disputes among the spouses, so before you file a lawsuit, you must carefully discuss and come to a consensus on the following issues:

  • Separation of custody of a minor child and the amount of financial support.
  • The amount and duration of alimony.
  • Separation of debts and common property.
  • Any other issues that may arise.

After 90 days from the date of submission of all necessary documents to the court, the judge will make a final decision, with the spouses not even having to appear in the courtroom.

Grounds for Divorce in Iowa

Iowa is a no-fault state. This means that the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences between spouses, under which marriage is broken. This is a very good reason for the dissolution of marriage, as actually none of the spouses is guilty of the fact that the relationship is violated. You do not have to blame your spouse or defend yourself against his or her attacks, give evidence of guilt or adultery. So, in terms of the grounds for divorce, Iowa's legislation makes couples a great gift, since the spouses do not have to take all their dirty laundry to the courtroom.

Iowa Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

If the defendant is a resident of the state and the plaintiff served him / her personally, then for the plaintiff there are no requirements for residence. Otherwise, in order to file Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court, either of the spouses must live in Iowa for at least one year.

How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa?

So, before filing for divorce, you must meet the state's requirements for living and as Iowa is a no-fault state, the fact is that your marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no possibility to save it will be enough to dissolve a marriage. You need to fill out forms for divorce, keep in mind that if you make any mistake, the court will reject your forms or appoint a number of court sessions in order to clarify the issues and to sort things out. You must also submit the forms electronically (using Iowa eFile systems), if you do not have the court's permission to file in paper form.

The basic papers that you will need to fill out are Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons, in addition to this you may need to submit some more forms, it all depends on the circumstances of your divorce. Keep in mind that the plaintiff must serve the defendant with the copies of the forms that he or she registered in the court. Once all the necessary documents have been filed, you have a waiting period of 90 days. During this time, you can resolve the conflicts, if they are still between you and your spouse. If you do not reach an agreement during this waiting period, your divorce will be contested and disputes will be decided in the courtroom.

If you and your almost-former spouse in the good relationship and you have come to a common  understanding, then there is the opportunity to speed up the waiting period. If the judge makes sure that the case is urgent, you will get the final decision much earlier.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Iowa

Iowa legislation allows a person to represent his or her interests in the courtroom independently, without the participation of a lawyer. Such a process is called a DIY divorce. You can independently select and fill out all the necessary forms, in afterwards appear in front of the court, if required. Pay attention that in the main success depends on the correctness of your documents. It is very important to choose exactly the forms that correspond to the circumstances of your divorce and fill them in accordance with the requirements of the law. In addition, do not forget about the nuances, the courtroom is a place of age-old traditions, good manners and courtesy. You must be neatly dressed, show your respect to the judge and all those present, do not interrupt the judge, speak loudly and intelligently, and always be on time.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

When you file a Petition for divorce, you must pay a court fee of $185, note that if you decide to serve your spouse, using the services of the sheriff, you will need to pay for it additional $ 40-50. And finally, you will be charged $ 50 when the final decree if filed. If your interests are represented by a lawyer, then his hourly rate will average $ 220. If the divorce is contested, then its price will come out about $ 11,700.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Iowa?

There is no general term for all divorces, since each case is unique and the duration depends on the circumstances prevailing in the marriage. If we talk about uncontested divorce, then it can be obtained 90 days after all the necessary documents have been submitted to the court. In emergency cases, you can get final decree earlier, if the judge to certifies that this is really necessary. The contested dissolution of marriage lasts much longer, as the disagreements between the spouses must be settled in a court hearings. The contested divorce can last 6 months, or a year, it all depends on the complexity of the situation in which the judge needs to sort out.

Papers & Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Iowa

The main list of forms includes:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Coversheet for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Confidential Information Form
  • Original Notice of Personal Service
  • Acceptance of Service of Original Notice
  • Directions for Service of Original Notice
  • Motion and Affidavit to Serve by Publication
  • Original Notice by Publication
  • Application and Affidavit to Defer Payment of Costs
  • Motion
  • Response to a Motion
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Affidavit of Mailing Notice
  • Notice of Intent to File a Written Application for Default Decree
  • Request for Relief (Final Decree) in Dissolution of Marriage
  • Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage

Well, this is a common register of divorce documents in Iowa. Please note that you do not need to fill in absolutely all of them, you choose and sue those forms that correspond to your case. Also, keep in mind that a lot depends on the correctness of your documents, if you make a mistake, the court will reject your divorce papers.

How to Serve Your Spouse in Iowa

When a divorce lawsuit is filed, it is necessary to provide the spouse with all copies of the documents, this is also called "serving a spouse." This is a very important step, because if you do not provide the spouse with papers for marriage dissolution, the court will not take up your case. So, you can serve your spouse in several ways:

  • You can transfer documents to your spouse personally if you have a good relationship, or use the services of the regular first class U.S. Mail. Do not forget to include the Acceptance of Service form in the package of documents, the spouse must sign it to prove that the he or she was served.
  • You can ask the sheriff for help to transfer the copies to your spouse or use the services of a private process server, in this case your spouse will have to fill in the Directions for Service of Original Notice.
  • If none of the above methods works, you can publish a notice in the local newspaper with the intent to dissolve the marriage.

Online Divorce in Iowa

Online Divorce is very popular. Spouses who want to dissolve a marriage do not need to do paper work and dig into the legislation. Using our services you can be completely confident in your forms. How it works? You answer questions about your marriage, and we select the appropriate forms and fill them in accordance with the requirements of the state. In just one day you will receive all the necessary papers, which will be 100% approved by the court.

Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Iowa

The main principle that judges are guided during the award of custody of underage children is compliance with the best interests of the child. Parental divorce must pass painlessly for the child. Therefore, in Iowa, during the dissolution of marriage, it is obligatory to visit the parenting classes, which is aimed at overcoming the severe eo-national consequences of the child and parents. The court also believes that the child must spend a lot of time with both parents, so usually makes a decision in favor of joint custody, even if the parents do not agree. However, in order to determine the physical custodian, the court must consider many factors and choose which parent is better suited for this role. The following factors can significantly influence the decision:

  • The ability of each parent to be a good guardian.
  • The ability of parents to jointly resolve issues concerning the upbringing of a child.
  • Place of residence of each parent and their living space.
  • Mental and physical parameters of parents.
  • The wishes of the child, his or her emotional needs.

In addition, both parents are required to financially support the child until he or she reaches the age of 18, but usually the spouse with a higher income makes financial support. The calculation of the amount is based on the Income Shares Model, and then proportionally divided between the parents. So the parent who is the primary guardian of the child pays for the child's daily expenses, while the second spouse must provide the child with health insurance, education, and also the amount to meet the child's basic needs.

Rules for Spousal Support in Iowa

If after divorce the spouse is in a difficult financial situation, then he or she can demand from his or her ex financial support as alimony. Spousal support can be paid in a short time, for example, while the spouse is trained, which will help him or her to stand on feet or be permanent if the marriage has been long and the spouse can not provide his or her basic needs without outside help. In any case, before deciding on the duration and amount of alimony, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The duration of marriage and the standard of living that the spouses had during it.
  • Financial resources of spouses (determined after the property is divided).
  • The tax consequences as a result of alimony.
  • Any agreement that the spouses had with regard to support being married.
  • The possibility of a needy spouse to obtain the necessary education and to provide himself / herself.

Division of Property in Iowa

Legislation on the division of property in each state is different, in Iowa, the principle of equitable distribution is used. This means that the property does not need to be divided equally, but it must be shared honestly. It is very good, if the spouses can agree on the division of property even before the start of the trial, this will greatly simplify the process of divorce. But if this is not possible, the court will divide the property, based on the following factors:

  • The age of each spouse, as well as their physical and emotional indicators.
  • Duration of marriage.
  • Financial capacity of each spouse.
  • The contribution of each spouse to the financial well-being of the family and the maintenance of the home.
  • The tax consequences for each spouse after the division of property.
  • The existence of any agreements between spouses regarding the division of property.

It is also worth emphasizing that you can share only the common property, that is, what was acquired by the spouses during the marriage. The separate property, that is, the property that the spouse possessed before marriage or in marriage, but by giving or by will, can not be divided. In addition, the common and separate property can be combined and turned into a mixed one. In this case, it will be difficult enough to understand what and who owns, and most likely you will need the help of a good lawyer.

Division of Debt in Iowa

In divorcing, the spouses should also share all debts acquired in marriage, including mortgage loans, car loans and credit card debts. Debts, like the common property, should be divided fairly. In some situations, when a spouse wants to get more property after a divorce, he or she can also get a larger share of debts in order to have the balance. In addition, some property can be immediately put up for sale, so that the spouses have the opportunity to pay off debts as a result of realization.

Divorce Mediation in Iowa

Mediation is an alternative to disputes. Spouses can work with a third party who is interested in resolving conflicts and reaching the spouses of a peace agreement. A couple can independently apply for a service to intermediaries or can be sent there by a court decision, especially if the family has underage children. While there is a process of mediation between spouses, judicial hearings will be postponed.

How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Iowa

You want to divorce, but do not know where your spouse is and can not serve him or her. What is next? You still have the right to terminate the marriage.

You must reside in Iowa for at least 1 year before filing a Petition for Dissolution. As with any kind of divorce, you prepare all the necessary forms that are appropriate to the circumstances of your divorce and bring them to court.

After that, you need to contact your spouse with all the available methods, if it did not work, then you publish a notice in a local newspaper with the intention to dissolve your marriage. The notice should be published once a week for 3 weeks. Such a divorce is also called Divorce by Publication. On an equal footing with all other documents, you will also need to sue the Affidavit of Diligent Search form.

Default Divorce in Iowa

Default divorce occurs when your spouse does not respond to your Petition. You can file a contested or uncontested divorce, not depending on the circumstances that have led to the desire to terminate the marriage, divorce will be considered as a default if your spouse does not respond to you and in no way reacts on the documents within 20 days after he or she was served.

Annulment of the Marriage in Iowa

Annulment is a legal process that recognizes that marriage is such that it has no legal rights. In other words, marriage never existed, because it was concluded in violation of the law. If you want to recognize the marriage as invalid, one of the following grounds must be fulfilled:

  • Incest. Spouses are blood relatives.
  • One of the spouses was a minor at the time of the marriage ceremony and did not have permission from the parents or the court to marry.
  • Bigamy.
  • Impotence, which the husband was ill at the time of marriage.

Legal Separation in Iowa

There are many reasons why couples want to live apart while being in an official marriage. Spouses can get legal separation, while sharing all their property and debts, but not getting a divorce. Legal separation assumes that the spouses sue the Settlement Aggregate, and divide common property, custody of children, solve questions about financial support. The cost of legal separation is the same as for divorce, but at the end, the spouses are not allowed to marry someone, because they are still married. If a couple has such a desire, then parties can get a divorce some time after the legal separation has been approved.

Same-Sex Divorce in Iowa

Same-sex marriages are allowed in Iowa since April 2009. Therefore, they can be terminated. In Iowa, there are no special rules for obtaining same-sex divorce, the procedure is exactly the same as for all others. A consistent nuance that can be difficult is the division of property. If the couple cohabited before gay marriage were officially recognized, it would be difficult to determine which property is common, and which is separate. Therefore, it may be necessary to ask for the professional help.

Military Divorce in Iowa

A person who is in a military or naval service that he or she carries outside of Iowa is still considered a resident of Iowa, if he or she lived here before departure. Therefore, such servicemen can receive a divorce on the basis of Iowa legislation. The procedure is similar to the general divorce, but here are key nuances.

A spouse who is on military service outside the state is protected by the law from a default divorce, the marriage can not be terminated as long as the military man or woman carries his / her duties and is unable to attend the court. In addition, military pension can be divided only if the marriage lasted no more than 10 years and all this time the spouse was a serviceman.

How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Iowa

Getting divorce from a spouse who is in prison is not easy, but possible. Together with the completed forms you will need to file a decision on the basis of which the spouse is serving a term. In order to serve your spouse, you will need to talk with the leadership of the prison, where he or she is serving a sentence and ask for help in the transfer of documents. In addition, you will have to appear at court hearings, it is unlikely that your spouse will be taken to the courtroom, but if it is a question of depriving parental rights, he or she will be obliged to attend the court.

Iowa Divorce Filing Fee

The court fee is mandatory and for Iowa is $ 185, in addition you also will be charged extra $50 after the final decision.

Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?

If you can not afford to pay a court fee, you must fill out the Application and Affidavit form to the Defer Payment of Costs. Based on it, the judge will decide on whether to cancel the court fee for you.

How We Can Help

Our services will prepare all necessary documentation for you in just one day. In addition, we will give you instructions on what to do next, we can also provide copies of the completed forms to your spouse. With our help, you can not worry about your divorce.

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