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Divorce Law

Iowa Divorce Law

When your marriage comes to an end, you have to sort out the divorce laws of your home state. Iowa law uses the formal term dissolution of marriage, which means same thing as divorce.

Petition for dissolution of marriage

A person seeking a divorce must file a petition with the clerk of court office, and pay a filing fee. The petition must be served on the opposing party, an awkward process which Hope Law Firm, PLC handles for you. The opposing party then has a reasonable time to file an answer—usually 20 days.

Uncontested divorce

If both people are in agreement that a divorce is appropriate, and there are no disagreements on other issues, the court may agree to work with Hope Law Firm, PLC and the opposing attorneys to complete the divorce. Even if the divorce is uncontested, Iowa law requires a 90-day waiting period from serving the petition to divorce decree, although the court may waive the waiting period.

No-fault divorce

Iowa allows a marriage to be dissolved when the relationship breaks down with no reasonable likelihood it can be preserved. A spouse is not required to blame the other spouse for any particular misdeed or wrong. If the court is unsure of the need for a divorce then Hope Law Firm, PLC fights to push the petition through without any hang-ups. Still, a judge may require the parties to participate in conciliation efforts for a period of 60 days.

Contested divorce

If the issue is contested, or if children are involved, the case may eventually be set for hearing or trial before a judge. Each judicial district may have special procedures as part of the divorce process, including mandatory mediation. This does not mean that you will be denied your divorce—if you are certain of your need to dissolve your marriage, your Hope Law Firm, PLC attorney guides you through the legal process to achieve the relief you need.

Equitable distribution of property

In Iowa, the court divides the marital property between the parties as it deems equitable and just, after setting aside any inherited property or gifts received individually. Some of the factors the court considers in dividing the property are:

  • The property brought to the marriage by each party.
  • The financial contribution of each party to the marriage.
  • The past contribution by one party to the education or increased earning power of the other.
  • The present and future earning potential of each party.
  • The physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The desirability of awarding the family home to the party with custody of the children.

Alimony is not automatic

First the court must decide if alimony—spousal support—is called for, and then decide on the amount. The court considers many of the same factors used to determine the distribution of property, as well as:

  • Age of the spouses
  • Education levels of each spouse
  • Earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance
  • Feasibility of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-supporting

You need strong legal guidance in your divorce proceeding

At Hope Law Firm, PLC, we have a thorough knowledge of Iowa divorce law. Our attorneys provide you with strong legal service at a reasonable cost. Contact us now.


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  • West Des Moines Office
    1055 Jordan Creek Parkway
    Suite 200
    West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
    Phone: 515-255-3559
    Fax: 515-243-2433
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    Brookfield Plaza 207 NE Delaware Avenue
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    Ankeny, Iowa 50021
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    Sioux City, Iowa 51101
    Phone: 712-899-0569
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