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Can I File for an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa?

With recent high-profile news on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West agreeing to divorce terms, there has been renewed interest in how the uncontested divorce process works. We are often asked if Iowa offers the option to file for an uncontested divorce and if this can speed up the overall divorce process. On the blog, we take a look at what it means to have an uncontested divorce, Iowa’s divorce laws, and your options for expediting your divorce.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce refers to when a couple agrees on all aspects of their divorce, including property and debt division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. While some states provide a streamlined divorce process for couples who qualify for an uncontested divorce, Iowa does not. However, this does not mean that you and your former partner do not benefit when you are able to agree to the terms of your divorce settlement.

What Is Iowa’s Process for Uncontested Divorces?

Because Iowa does not offer a simplified or special process for uncontested divorces, your divorce is still subject to Iowa’s mandatory 90-day waiting period. This period begins once the petition to divorce has been served, and you cannot receive your final divorce decree until it has been completed. That being said, there are some cases where the courts will waive the waiting period.

According to Iowa Code Section 598.19, the court can, “in its discretion, on written motion supported by affidavit setting forth grounds of emergency or necessity and facts which satisfy the court that immediate action is warranted or required to protect the substantive rights or interest of any party or person who might be affected by the decree,” dissolve the marriage before the 90-day waiting period has expired. To find out if you qualify for a waiver of the 90-day waiting period, discuss your case with an experienced attorney like ours at Hope Law Firm.

What Can I Do to Expedite the Divorce Process?

Compared to some states with longer waiting periods, you can receive a final decree of divorce in Iowa in as little as three months. However, it is not uncommon for divorces to take much longer than this. In fact, some divorces have taken up to a year to be resolved. There are several factors that can contribute to a lengthy divorce process, such as disputes between the splitting couple or incorrectly filing court documents.

Frequently disputed issues that can slow down the divorce process include:

  • Property and debt division
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

Even if you and your former partner only disagree on one issue, it can slow down the process. Often, contested matters will require you to attend a hearing before a judge so that the issue can be resolved. Preparing for litigation is time-consuming and costly.

It is also important to remember that if you are divorcing and there are children involved, you may be required to appear before a judge regardless of whether you agree on custody matters. When dealing with a divorce with children, you should always consult your lawyer for guidance. An experienced attorney can give you insight into what to expect from the process.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Options

If you are struggling to agree on divorce terms with your former spouse but want to avoid the hassle and expense of appearing before a judge, you have a few options. One of the most common ways that divorcing couples resolve their disputes is through mediation. In some cases, the courts may even require a divorcing couple to go through the mediation process.

During mediation, you and your partner will meet with a third-party mediator. This mediator acts as a neutral facilitator who works with both parties to help them resolve their issue(s). While the mediator my make recommendations based on their experience, they do not force a couple to accept a resolution and they do not represent either party. During mediation, the divorcing couple will each retain their own legal counsel.

Another option is to utilize the collaborative divorce method. This method is similar to mediation and emphasizes working together to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to your divorce. During the collaborative divorce process, the parties will meet both individually with their own attorneys and then collaboratively as a group. The divorcing couple may also employ the help of other professionals, such as financial advisors and child specialists, to help them come to terms.

To find out more about alternatives to divorce litigation, contact Hope Law Firm. Our attorneys are prepared to help.