If you want to file for a divorce in the state of Iowa, you have a number of options. This article will help you to decide which option is the best for your particular situation.
By law, Iowa is a “no-fault” divorce state. What this means is that neither spouse needs to claim grounds in order to file for a divorce. This makes filing for and obtaining a divorce in Iowa much easier than states which do require grounds.
The first option for filing in Iowa is the “do-it-yourself” divorce. While this may sound intimidating to anyone who does not have some amount of legal knowledge, it is not difficult at all. Many courthouses supply kits containing all of the forms that you will need, as well as instructions on how to fill them out and what you need to do with them. If the courthouse in your area does not supply this information, you can ask them where you can obtain it.
When you take the first step and present the completed Petition for Dissolution of Marriage at the courthouse, along with the required filing fee, you will be informed about anything else you need to do to proceed.
If you are thinking about this option, there are a couple of points which you should consider. First, a do-it-yourself divorce is primarily recommended for situations which are not complicated. While it is possible to have a do-it-yourself divorce even if you anticipate arguments about child custody, property, spousal support or other issues, it is not a good idea to choose this option without legal representation. While the court will attempt to be fair to both parties, it is important to know your legal rights.
A second option is your local Legal Aid Society. If you have low income, or only need advice or assistance with your paperwork, Iowa Legal Aid has pro bono attorneys who can help you. It is not necessary to hesitate in filing for a divorce due to not having the information you need, even if you do not have much money. Iowa Legal Aid will help you if you cannot afford to hire an attorney.
The traditional method of hiring an attorney is a third option. If you can afford a lawyer, this can be the best method, especially if you anticipate a considerable amount of trouble from your spouse. An attorney can help you to avoid being taken advantage of, and to secure your rights. While the court will ultimately decide issues such as child support and custodial arrangements, spousal support, the distribution of property and assets, and other factors which may be relevant to your personal situation, it is essential to know your rights.
There are some additional points which you should be aware of when you are filing for a divorce in Iowa. First, Iowa is an equitable-distribution state. This means that the court will divide the marital property in a manner which it believes is fair to both parties. It does not necessarily mean that it will be divided equally. Second, either party in a divorce can request spousal support. It is up to the court as to whether or not to grant it. Third, whenever possible, Iowa prefers to grant joint-custodial arrangements for children.