Iowa Divorce Procedures

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Divorce is a common phenomenon of the modern society. When a marital relationship faces several issues, divorce is seen as the only source of relief. In every society, laws and regulations are deemed necessary to curve social evils. Likewise divorce laws are formed to put an end to marital issues. Iowa in USA has its own divorce statute. Every separating couple has to undergo Iowa divorce procedures if they want a smooth divorce.

It is to be noted that the divorce rate in Iowa is increasing. In 1940, it was 1.9 per 1,000 of the population. Till the end of the 20th century, this rose to 3.5 divorces per 1,000 population. In 2009-2010, divorce rates for males over fifteen years of age were 10.2 per 1000 and 10.8 per 1000 for females.

If you are considering a divorce in Iowa, it is advisable to know the basic divorce process in Iowa, as given below:

Overview of Iowa Divorce Procedure

  • The Petitioner can procure a petition for dissolution of marriage from any clerk in any court in the state
  • The petition should be filed in the county wherein the divorcing partners last resided along with each other or any other county in the state
  • Enquire with the clerk what filing fee is to be paid and disburse this fee along with the petition
  • If the petitioner does not have sufficient money for paying the filing fee, such a petitioner can postpone the payment of the filing fee by filing form FL-109
  • The Respondent is served the copy of the petition and the original notice. The respondent is allotted 20 calendar days from the date he/ she receives the copy of the petition to file an answer.
  • The divorce procedure in this state does not make it mandatory that a divorce attorney must be hired. However, it is advisable to take the help of a lawyer so that one knows what the individual rights of a person are in a divorce. In turn, this can assist in representing the Petitioner in an optimum manner
  • Each judicial district in Iowa may follow different procedures, as the nature of divorce cases may demand, but divorce mediation is mandatory
  • From the date the Petition was served, there is a waiting period of 90 days, on completion of which the divorce can be finalized
  • At times, the divorcing partner desires to restore the self maiden name. In this case, a request for the same is appended to the petition
  • Sometimes the divorcing partners are not sure if they desire to divorce. Then, they can opt for divorce mediation and ensure if, the divorcing partners can resolve their issues without filing a lawsuit.

Iowa Divorce Procedure without a hearing

In the following conditions, the court reserves the right to issue a decree of dissolution in the absence of a hearing.

  • If all the following criteria have been satisfied
    • A written agreement has been prepared by the divorcing partners and this consists of all the issues related to the dissolution of marriage
    • All the forms that are essential as per the law of the state as well as the court have been completed and filed
    • The divorcing partners should certify in written form that their marital relation has been hampered to such a degree that there is no reasonable possibility that the marital status can be retained
  • The waiting period is over and still the Respondent has not filed a pleading or motion or special appearance or general appearance in the case. Moreover, the following conditions must be fulfilled:
    • All documents that should be essentially filed as per statute and the law have been submitted
    • The Petitioner should have certified in written form that the marital status has broken down to such a degree that there is no reasonable likelihood that it is possible to preserve the marriage

Divorce on Agreed basis or Default basis

Other than the above-mentioned divorce procedures, one must also know about DIY or Do It Yourself Service. This service grants divorce on two basis, namely Agreed and Default. As defined by Iowa divorce laws and guidelines, an Agreed divorce can be granted when both the spouses agree to the terms of divorce like Iowa child support and child custody, distribution of property, etc., and then sign the divorce papers.

A default divorce is granted when the defendant does not sign the divorce paper and does not respond to the divorce at all. Thus the case is taken as a default divorce and the plaintiff gets whatever he/she asked for in the original paperwork.

It is to be noted that the information given in this article do not encompass all the Iowa divorce procedures. This is no legal advice, but meant to educate you. You can consult the details of the court proceedings with your lawyer or look for on-line support.

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