Online Divorce in Iowa

The divorce process can be a very emotionally rough period for spouses.

With all that torrent of emotions and communication problems, stress about legal and financial procedures makes things significantly more difficult. It is time to split everything you created through the years and agree on each other goals and interests.

However, it does not need to be so difficult.

The spouses can avoid stressful situations, cost of attorneys, and long-legal procedures by dissolving the marriage online. You will see that resolving negotiation and solutions, which will lead to reconciling everyone’s interest, can be so much easier by conducting this online procedure.

How to Get a Divorce in Iowa

Abandonment in marriage is a common thing in today’s world. When things are not working well, separation is always the best possible solution. Before everything, you need to get familiar with the entire divorce process. We can define it as a dissolution of marriage because that is a legal synonymous with divorce. One of the spouses that files for divorce are professionally named the petitioner. On the other hand, the other partner who receives the request of this type is the respondent. Legal reasons for divorce are not questionable in Iowa.

Valid Grounds to Get a Divorce

When it comes to dissolving the marriage, Iowa is a “no-fault” state, so it does not need specific evidence for proving anyone’s fault. If the spouses decide to divorce, with the certainty that there is no possibility of saving the marriage, Iowa respects their decision and facilitates the process.

Without Children

Getting a divorce when you and your spouse do not have kids is a bit different. Before everything, you need to understand that Iowa is an equitable distribution state. The essential is to establish dividing all the material property that you and your partner have. That covers everything that has been acquired after and before your marriage as well. There is one small exception. The property division does not include inheritances and gifts you and your partner received during the marriage.

With Children

The top priority of everyone in the process of divorce is the welfare of any children involved in the case. The goal is to find a solution that is in the children’s best interest. There are lots of things that spouses need to discuss and establish in this situation. Reaching a fair settlement between parents about custody and spousal support is essential. That type of support can be granted to both partners for an indefinite and limited time as well.

Indefinite spousal support depends on different factors. For instance, one of the partners needs to financially support the knowledge improvement or prequalification of another one. In that way, he/she will support your spouse until he gets the chance to get a job and create the opportunity for self-financing. Also, parents need to use a calculator and determine a financial plan for alimony and how to facilitate the process of child support.

However, there is something we need to highlight about child support. The portion of the property always needs to be set aside in a fund. In that way, both partners will support the personal improvement of a child in educational and every other way.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa

Iowa does not have some special procedure for uncontested divorces. More precisely, the uncontested divorce documents are the same as those for the traditional divorce and you will fill the same online forms. The couple usually considers uncontested divorce if they already have an agreement on all related questions in the divorce process. For instance, they solved problems by themselves about property division, custody, alimony. However, the process is not different, and both partners can achieve to finish the process much more quickly. That is a benefit because you and your spouse would not have to go to trial and let the judge resolve your issues.

What If I Have Contested Divorce?

Contested divorces are more complicated because the spouses can’t settle an agreement on issues included in their divorce process. In that kind of situation, the spouses end up in court where a judge makes the decision instead of them.

We need to be honest and say that procedures last longer in that case. Both partners will have to deal with different legal fees in that case. Spouses will have to go through numerous steps.

In the settlement phase, spouses can not resolve their issues, and they go to divorce court.

During the trial process, spouses present witnesses, and their lawyers do the cross-examine of the witnesses. After that, they present closing arguments. Once the trial is over, the judge and court make the decision and finalizes the process of dissolving the marriage.

As you see, in the case of a contested divorce, you need to hire a divorce lawyer who will tell your legal right and represent you in court.

How to File Divorce Papers in Iowa?

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.

Financial Disclosures

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.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in Iowa

Serving divorce papers in Iowa to your spouse may seem like a complex thing. Yet, things are not as difficult as you think. After you finish filling the papers, you can make copies of the original documents and send them or email them. After that, the other partner has 20 days to answer.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in Indiana

Once you’ve created copies of your divorce documents, you will have to serve them to your spouse. That can be performed in a few different ways in Indiana. You can hire a sheriff’s deputy, use a private process server, or send papers via certified email.

You’re advised to do it by using a process server or sheriff. While going through a certified email is the cheapest option, you may have a problem if the other party is not cooperative. Whatever method you choose, you’ll have to prove the divorce papers have been served to your spouse.

How to Get a Divorce In Iowa Without a Lawyer

We do not want to say that getting a divorce with no lawyer included is easy. However, if you manage to follow the strict rules and fill many papers properly, everything will be much easier. However, having a lawyer is not always going to be a necessity. There is a Guide for the divorce forms that you can read and inform yourself about the procedure.

If you are confused, you can take advice from a lawyer, and he can help you to understand what you should do and what rights you have. The term Self-represented litigant is used when a person is filling the forms and papers by themselves. Iowa has free documents you must fill if you want to file a divorce by yourself.

File Divorce Papers Online

In case you decide to avoid hiring an attorney, you can consider online divorce. With help of the service, you can complete and file the divorce and prepare a settlement agreement. The good thing is that the online service walks you through everything step-by-step.

Filing divorce papers by yourself has a lot of benefits. For instance, the costs are going to be lower, and you will manage to save a lot of your time. Also, you will ensure peace of mind because the stress around unfamiliar paperwork won’t exist.

Common Questions

How is property divided in a divorce in Iowa?

Fair and equal property division is not the same thing. In some cases, couples can agree alone about the property. Yet, they can also use the assistance of the mediator. Logically, the last option they have is to hire a lawyer that will represent them in court.

How much does divorce costs in Iowa?

$265 if you pay a fee to the Clerk of Court when the divorce Petition. $40-50 to pay a fee for copies of the papers to your spouse

If you can pay this, you can apply and ask the court to let you file for divorce without paying the fees. In that case, you must provide insight into your income. $50 charge for the final decree. $500.00 or more to start a divorce for a lawyer, if you decide to hire him.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Iowa?

After your spouse gets the papers, you need to wait 90 days. After that period, the court will declare the divorce. If there are some special cases, the court will tell you that your divorce process will be finished soon, or if there are problems, it may take more than a year to end the dissolving of the marriage.

How can I get a copy of my divorce in Iowa?

Your Iowa divorce forms you filled can be downloaded and printed or they can be mailed to you.

Do my spouse and I need to live in Iowa to get a divorce?

You must live in Iowa for one year before you can file a divorce, and if your spouse lives in Iowa, you are able to file the divorce now.

Can I still get a divorce if my spouse does not want to get one?

If one of the spouses won’t agree to end the marriage or is trying to avoid the divorce, the process will be longer than expected. First, you can try by hiring a family lawyer or a mediator. Many couples try to establish each other’s goals in this way and set an agreement. They will tell you what right you have. Also, you can fill the papers online and send him a file for divorce. After that, the court will listen to both of you and determine the closer.

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