Obtaining a Divorce in Iowa

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Sometimes married people decide that they no longer wish to be married. A divorce is the process of legally dissolving a marriage and changing the classification of the individuals involved from married couple to single. The legal term for divorce in Iowa is "Dissolution of Marriage"; there is no practical difference in the terms and they mean the same thing. Iowa is considered a "no fault" divorce state where the only piece of information that has to be proven in order for a divorce to be granted is that the marriage has broken down and that there is no "reasonable likelihood" of saving it. Iowa is also considered an "equitable distribution" state where, in general, all property except for gifts and inherited items are divided equally among the divorcing spouses. Iowa law has several considerations for determining whether property should be included in this property division.


Legal support for Petitioners filing for divorce and Respondents whose spouses have filed for divorce against them can be found at the Iowa Judicial branch website. This website also offers free legal assistance with links to "Forms and Instructions" for Petitioners and Respondents. You do not need to be represented by an attorney to obtain a divorce in Iowa, but the Iowa Judiciary strongly suggests that you do utilize an attorney for your divorce.


The Iowa State Bar Association offers some free legal aid regarding divorces via its brochure, which can be found at, http://iabar.net/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=145. The legal assistance included in this brochure consists of factual information, such as an explanation of a ninety day waiting period for divorce finalization and a course requirement for child custody issues. It also addresses conciliation, or settlement procedures, which can be ordered for sixty days, as well as legal help regarding legal separation - the grounds for which are the same as those for a divorce.


The Des Moines law Firm of Babich, Goldman, Cashatt & Renzo, P.C. provides visitors with free legal help through its informative articles and blog entries, written by attorney Alexander R. Rhoades. This website provides several types of legal assistance, including information pertaining to child support and custody, alimony, and filing fees, as well as explanations of applicable laws, opinions, and key case decisions.


Several options are available for locating a suitable to attorney to assist you with your divorce. The Iowa State Bar Association maintains a database of Iowa attorneys according to specialty. You can find a list of attorneys in your area who specialize in family law by using the “FIND-A-LAWYER” service, which allows you to click on the names of local attorneys to view their qualifications and obtain their contact information. A list of attorneys providing legal support for individuals involved in a divorce can also be found at, http://www.iowadivorceattorney.net/. Low income divorce litigants can inquire about free legal services or reduced cost legal services at one of several legal aid agencies in Iowa. A list of such agencies is maintained at, http://iabar.net/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=132.


 A person seeking a divorce or who has been served with divorce papers by their spouse may feel overwhelmed. They also may not know where to begin to figure out what should be done or where they should be looking to protect their interests. A divorce can be an emotionally charged event complicated by various issues, such as the involvement of children. Fortunately, as discussed, there are numerous resources available that can help you obtain the information you need and determine whether you should employ an attorney’s legal services and if so, which attorney would be best for you.