I often get asked by colleagues, clients, and friends as to who the best Iowa divorce attorney is. My answer is quite simple: it depends on the client. Different clients require different attorneys. Divorce is an area of the law where the title of attorney and counselor at law really applies. Often divorce litigants are at a low, if not the lowest, point in their life. Not only do they need solid objective representation, they also need a solid independent set of shoulders to lean on emotionally. Invariably, as with most things in life, the proper fit to meet these needs varies from person to person. Accordingly, the term best Iowa divorce attorney is a mirage of sorts.
More important than identifying the best Iowa divorce attorney, is staying away from the poor ones. Here are some qualifying questions and answers to ask Iowa divorce attorneys if you are in the market:
1) If I receive a portion of my ex-spouse's 401(K) benefits can I cash them out without incurring an early withdrawal penalty?
Yes, the money removed from your account for a properly processed QDRO is not subject to the 10 percent early withdrawal federal income tax penalty-even if you and your alternate payee are both younger than age 59 Â½. Unfortunately, if the QDRO is not properly established, you will be subject to the 10 percent early withdrawal federal income tax penalty.
2) Can we agree to have child support run until our child is 22?
It depends. If your child is of normal health Iowa Code section 598.1 (2013) only provides for child support until your child is eighteen. Further, if they are between the ages of eighteen and nineteen and engaged full-time in high school child support is required. Children past these ages are not included for child support purposes unless they are a dependent of the parties due to a physical or mental disability.
3) Can my ex-spouse discharge a property settlement agreement in a bankruptcy after the case is over?
It depends. Domestic support obligations such as child support and spousal support are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, the property settlement may be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding if the attorneys drafting the divorce agreement are not familiar with bankruptcy laws.
4) In case I move after the divorce, can we put a provision in the decree that the state I move to will have jurisdiction to hear any future child custody matters?
No, parties to a divorce cannot consent to the jurisdiction of a state to hear child custody matters. Rather, jurisdiction either exists or does not exist under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
If the attorney you are meeting with can accurately answer the above questions you can rest assured that they are sufficiently competent to employ and perhaps they are the best Iowa divorce attorney.