Iowa allows you to complete forms online and start the divorcing process while representing yourself. There are two basic types of documents for online divorce if you want to get the report of dissolution. Whether the spouses have minor children, the forms will be different. The forms are official, but you can check with the local court and confirm that the forms are acceptable. It is essential to complete all of the forms and respond to the questions. A step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, which will make things easier for you. You fill the forms, depending on if you are the petitioner or the respondent.
If you are the petitioner, you need to fill out the forms:
- Form FL-101, which is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with no minor children;
- Form FL-102, which is the Cover Sheet for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With No Minor Children,
- Form FL-103, which is the Confidential Information Form, and the Original Notice for Personal Service. These forms are available online.
After the petitioner serves the divorce papers, the respondent needs to complete Form FL-115, which is the Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with no minor children, in case the petitioner was labeled FL-101. If he was not labeled FL-101, the respondent needs to use the Form FL-116, which is the General Answer Form.
The forms that the respondent needs and instructions are also available online.
In another case, if the spouses have children, they need to complete other files. Documents for child support and child custody and visitation are necessary.
If the spouses have some misunderstanding about filing the divorce papers, they can contact the clerk to help them or to get advice from an attorney. However, many people are deciding to do this by themselves because the online guide is very concise. Once you start filing the papers, you will see by yourself that you will not need any help.
File your Divorce Paperwork
The first task of the petitioner is to make copies of the forms. After he does that, the next step is to serve them to the spouse. Next thing is to go to the courthouse and request to file the original documents. For instance, the petitioner can fulfill the Form FL-109, which refers to Application and Affidavit to defer payment of costs. In that way, you will not be responsible for paying a divorce filing fee. Logically, the court has the right to decide if you have the right to do that. On the other hand, paying the fees is mandatory.
The clerk in the courthouse will take your original documents and sign the notice form. You will get a Report of the Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment form. You should fill them, except the items 18-22 because the clerk will fill those instead of you.
The respondents need to know that they have only 20 days from the day they got documents to file the answer. If you miss the deadline, the court can start a default judgment against you. That will allow the court to make a decision without your opinion.
Serve your Spouse
After the process of filing the paperwork is over, you need to serve them to your spouse. In the case where you can not agree on the relevant factors about your marriage, you need to go to a judge for a hearing. You need to wait for 90 days after your spouse gets copies of the documents. After that period, the judge can declare your divorce. There could be some cases where the court can decide that the process of dissolving your marriage can end sooner. However, this does not happen often, but if some problems need to be solved, the process of divorce will take more time. In some cases, the entire process can last for more than 1 year.
Both spouses need to complete the FORM FL-124. That is the document of Financial Affidavit, which includes all financial outlines such as income, expenses, debts, and assets. When the court defines everything around finances, it will get insights into the economic situation of both spouses. According to this document, the court can make a fair final decision about dividing the property and defining support. It is essential to be detailed and concise when you fill these forms because it will have an impact on financial disclosure.