Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) Actions are difficult to navigate without an experienced and knowledgeable West Des Moines family law attorney. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw we can usher you through your divorce in a manner that will minimize the stress in your life, while fighting hard to seek optimal results.
You can expect the following timeline and events in your divorce case:
You will meet with one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys who will discuss your situation with you. The consultation is a FREE 30 minute session and you will not be pressured into securing our services. We will provide you with a standard fee schedule and will discuss your case with you. An attorney client relationship will not be established until all conflict of interest checks are completed and we are retained to represent you.
The next step is to gather all of your pertinent information. You will need to gather all of your financial records. This includes information about your home, mortgage, salary, vehicles, retirement accounts, financial portfolio, and your tax returns for the prior three (3) years.
After we gather all of your information and meet with you to discuss your case strategy we will prepare a Dissolution of Marriage Petition to file with the district court where venue is proper. Prior to filing the Petition we will meet with you to review it, and then you will sign it in the presence of a notary public. The filing fee for a Petition of Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) is $100.00. Along with filing the Petition we will file a Confidential Information Affidavit, and Civil Petition Coversheet.
We then arrange to have the Petition served on your spouse. We use a reliable network of process servers that ensure the Petition is served in a professional and expeditious manner. In the alternative, your spouse may agree to accept service of the Petition. In the event that your spouse cannot be located, we will properly provide notice of the action via publication pursuant to the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure.
Every District Court has local rules that we must adhere to. If your action is filed in Polk County, Iowa, you will be required to fill out a Financial Affidavit, Child Support Guideline, and Certificate of Completion of a Children in the Middle course. For a list of Children in the Middle Course locations approved in the various Iowa Judicial Districts.
Litigation is a slow process and many issues need to be decided on a temporary basis prior to trial or resolution of a divorce case. In the event that a couple is separated or living apart during the divorce it may be necessary to seek temporary visitation, temporary custody, temporary child support, temporary spousal support, or temporary attorney fees. Generally a temporary hearing cannot be set until a few weeks to a few months after your spouse answers the dissolution of marriage petition.
Certain district courts require you to attend mandatory mediation prior to granting a hearing on temporary matters. We arrange and attend the mediation with you. In the event that your temporary divorce matters are not resolved at the mediation the courts generally have a temporary hearing on affidavits. We will work with you to develop strong and effective affidavits to present at the temporary hearing.
At the time we file your dissolution of marriage petition we receive a Pre-Trial Conference order. We will attend the conference on your behalf and will prepare all of the necessary paperwork that needs to be presented to the court. If your dissolution of marriage (divorce) case is not resolved at this point either a trial date will be set or the court will set a date that you must complete mandatory mediation by. In some counties, such as Polk County, the court will not provide you with a trial date until mediation has been completed.
In the event that your case is not resolved, the court will set discovery deadlines. Discovery is simply a period where we gather information from your spouse. We accomplish this through the use of interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, depositions, and any other method allowed under the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure.
If all issues cannot be resolved on an informal basis we will proceed to trial. Divorce trials may be on child support, spousal support, alimony, property distribution, separation of retirement accounts, and various other issues. Our West Des Moines divorce lawyers will aggressively advocate on your behalf should your divorce case reach trial.