Traditional Divorce

Traditional divorce in Iowa is the legal process of dissolving a marriage. This process involves not only legally ending the marriage, but also resolves issues such as child custody, child support, property division, retirement accounts, debts and real estate. In a Traditional Divorce, the divorce will be filed directly with the court and will be subject to court dates, deadlines and other requirements ordered by a Judge. Unless the parties reach settlement through negotiations or mediation, the case will proceed to trial and Judge will determine the outcome of the divorce proceeding.

Does it matter who files first?

In Iowa, there is generally no difference or advantage to being the party to file. The party filing will be required to pay the filing fee to the Clerk of Court of $265.00. This amount will be considered as part of the court costs which may be assessed to one party or divided between the parties.

Do I have to say why I want the divorce?
Iowa is considered a “no-fault” state meaning that the person filing for divorce does not have to list things like irreconcilable differences or infidelity.
How long does it take for the divorce to be final?

Iowa has a mandatory 90-day waiting period from the time the person not filing personally receives the proper documents. Under special circumstances, this waiting period may be waived by the Judge. Depending on the complexity of the case, it may take longer to finalize, even if there is an agreement between the parties.

Do I have to go to court or see a judge?

If both parties complete all of the court’s requirements and reach an agreement, the Judge will typically finalize the divorce without having the parties appear in court. If there are issues that cannot be resolved, it is likely that the parties may need to appear in court for the Judge to decide what will happen.

Can an attorney represent both people in a divorce?

No. That does not mean that both people will need an attorney but the attorney can only represent one party during the process. Each person should have the opportunity to consult a different attorney if they want.

How much does it cost for a divorce?
In addition to the filing fee and court costs, if someone hires an attorney there will likely be legal fees. The fees are very case-specific and having an initial consultation can allow both the potential client and the attorney to discuss the costs that may be involved.
What is Children in the Middle?
This is a program in Iowa ordered by the Judge for each parent to complete whenever a divorce involves children or a custody case is pending. The Judge will direct the parties to complete the program within a certain amount of time. Parties do not have go to the program together and can attend different sessions of the program.
What if both people agree on everything?
If the parties agree on all of the terms, the parties may enter a written agreement that states the agreement. A qualified attorney can assist in helping clients know what is required to be included in the agreement.

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