Divorce in Iowa is legally referred to as Dissolution of Marriage.
The Petitioner may file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the district court in the county where either party resides. The Petitioner has 90 days after filing the Petition to serve the Respondent. If the Petitioner fails to meet this deadline the case will be dismissed.
No dissolution of marriage shall be granted before 90 days have passed since the following:
The court may hold a hearing and grant a decree of dissolution of marriage prior to the expiration of the 90 day waiting period if it receives a written notice supported by affidavit describing the grounds of emergency or necessity, and the court determines it is necessary.
The district court may, on its own motion or on the motion of any party order the parties to participate in mediation in any dissolution of marriage action or other domestic relations action.
The Supreme Court has established a dispute resolution process in family law cases that includes the opportunities for mediation and settlement conferences. Any judicial district may implement this dispute resolution program, subject to the rules prescribed by the Supreme Court.
Either party to a marriage may request, as a part of a decree of dissolution or of annulment, a change in the person's name to either the name appearing on the person's birth certificate or to the name the person had immediately prior to the marriage.
Iowa is a no-fault state. The court shall enter a decree dissolving a marriage when there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
Marriage may be annulled for the following causes:
Same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, as of April 27, 2009.
Upon every judgment of annulment, dissolution, or separate maintenance, the court shall divide the property of the parties and transfer the title of the property accordingly.
Iowa is an equitable distribution state. The court divides all property, except inherited property or gifts received or expected by one party, equitably between the parties after considering all of the following factors:
Upon every judgment of annulment, dissolution, or separate maintenance, the court may grant an order requiring support payments to either party for a limited or indefinite length of time after considering all of the following factors:
The court may provide for joint custody of the child by the parties. The court shall order the custody award, including liberal visitation rights where appropriate, which will assure the child the opportunity for the maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage, and which will encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child unless direct physical harm or significant emotional harm to the child, other children, or a parent is likely to result from such contact with one parent.
If the court finds that a history of domestic abuse exists, the court general presumes it does not serve the best interest of the child to award joint custody.
In considering what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the minor child, the court shall consider the following factors:
If joint legal custody is awarded to both parents, the court may award joint physical care to both joint custodial parents upon the request of either parent. Before ruling on the request for the award of joint physical care, the court may require the parents to submit, either individually or jointly, a proposed joint physical care parenting plan.
A proposed joint physical care parenting plan shall address the following:
The court shall order the parties to any action which involves the issues of child custody or visitation to participate in a court-approved course to educate and sensitize the parties to the needs of any child or party during and subsequent to the proceeding within 45 days of the service of notice and petition for the action.
Participation in the course may be waived or delayed by the court for good cause including, but not limited to, a default by any of the parties or a showing that the parties have previously participated in a court-approved course or its equivalent. Participation in the course is not required if the proceeding involves termination of parental rights of any of the parties.
A final decree shall not be granted until the parties have complied with the educational requirement, unless participation in the course is waived or delayed for good cause or is otherwise not required.
The court may protect and promote the best interests of children of the parties by setting aside a portion of the parents' property in a separate fund or conservatorship for the support, maintenance, education, and general welfare of the minor children.
The Iowa child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model. A variation from the guidelines shall not be considered by the department without a record or written finding, based on stated reasons, that the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate.
The court may order either parent or both parents to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for supporting a child. When determining monthly child support payments, the court shall consider other children for whom either parent is legally responsible for support and other child support obligations actually paid by either party.
Iowa does not recognize legal separations and has no statutes regarding legal separations.
A petition, however, may be filed for separate maintenance actions as in actions for dissolutions of marriage, and all applicable provisions shall apply to separate maintenance.
*I understand that my data will be kept confidential and not offered to any third party.