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Serving Iowa Families Statewide

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Iowa?

Divorcing is never an easy process, and even in the best of circumstances, it can take time. Depending on the nature of your divorce, it can take as little as 90 days. However, if you are dealing with a contested divorce, it can take significantly longer. It can be frustrating not knowing how long your divorce will take, but it is important not to rush the process.

While your attorney will help you work through the process as efficiently as possible, you also want to ensure that your rights are protected and that all matters are settled as fairly and equitably as possible.

The Divorce Process in Iowa

Before you can file for divorce in Iowa, you first must ensure that you meet state eligibility requirements. There is a one-year residency requirement for filing for divorce in Iowa. This means that either you or your former partner must have been a resident of Iowa for at least one year. You will file for your dissolution of marriage in the county where the eligible resident lives. If both parties are Iowa residents, you may file in either county.

In Iowa, the courts require a 90-day waiting period before they will enter a final decree. This period begins from the date that the respondent is served with divorce papers. Consequently, it will take at least three months for your divorce to be finalized, even if it is an uncontested divorce.

What Can Slow the Divorce Process Down?

The most difficult and time-consuming part of the divorce process is coming to terms with your former partner. If you and your spouse have children, you will need to reach child custody, visitation, and support agreements. Even if you do not have children, you will have to deal with property division and spousal support or alimony agreements.

Many people try to settle their divorce out of court. Some couples can reach a settlement agreement independently, while others find success with mediators or arbitrators. It is important to remember that even if you and your spouse agree on terms outside of court, you will still have to file your agreements with the courts. Before the courts issue a final degree, they must review and approve the terms.

Contested Divorces

When a couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce, they will have to litigate their divorce in court. This is called a contested divorce. These types of cases can be very time-consuming and are often contentious. Some of the most common issues contested in divorce proceedings involve child custody and property division. Depending on the court where your divorce is being litigated, you may also be required to go through court-ordered mediation. All of this can extend the length of time it takes to resolve your divorce case.

What Do I Do If My Spouse Is Intentionally Refusing to Cooperate?

Unfortunately, divorces can bring the worst out in people. It is an incredibly emotional process, and you may be dealing with a spouse that is intentionally dragging their feet or refusing to cooperate. When this happens, you want to turn to your attorney for support. There may be alternative dispute resolution options you have not yet tried, and your lawyer can help you prepare for taking your case to court if necessary.