1. Meet with an Attorney
When facing a divorce, having the right support and guidance is crucial. A qualified attorney can help protect your rights and interests throughout the process.
Before meeting with an attorney, gather all relevant documents, such as financial statements, tax returns, and prenuptial agreements.
During the consultation, be prepared to share your concerns and goals for the divorce. The lawyer can answer any questions you have, tell you what to expect, and guide your next steps.
The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC has years of experience helping spouses navigate the complicated world of divorce, so reach out to our team online today.
2. Complete an Intake Questionnaire
After selecting a lawyer to represent you, complete an intake questionnaire. This document asks for information including your personal details, assets, debts, and any relevant history. Your attorney uses this information to understand your situation and build your case.
3. File Your Dissolution of Marriage Paperwork
Next, you will officially file for divorce. You can file this paperwork with your spouse’s cooperation, confirming that you have agreed to end your marriage. Depending on the circumstances, you can file alone and serve your spouse notice later. (We will cover this scenario in the next step).
Filing this paperwork is a formal, legally binding process. It officially alerts the state that you are beginning the divorce process. It does not, however, officially end the marriage.
Your lawyer will help you carefully, accurately complete this paperwork.
4. Serve Your Spouse the Dissolution of Marriage Petition
Iowa allows you to begin divorce proceedings without your spouse’s consent. If this scenario applies to you, a legal professional will officially service your spouse with a notice. This step is necessary for the divorce to move forward.
Once your spouse has been served, they have a certain amount of time to respond and begin working toward a resolution.
5. Complete Other Necessary Steps, Depending on Your Situation
If you live in Iowa, there are a few more steps to take before moving forward. You'll need to fill out more forms such as the Financial Affidavit.
When you and your spouse share children, you must also complete the Child Support Guideline. Depending on your district, you may be required to attend a “Children in the Middle” course. You will receive a certification that states you completed the course, and you will add this certificate to your stack of paperwork.
Dealing with this paperwork is complicated and time-consuming, but these forms help your divorce go smoothly. They can also help make sure everyone involved gets the care and protection they need.
6. Attend Temporary Hearings
These hearings address issues that need immediate attention, such as child custody and support, spousal support, and possession of the family residence or other property. In many cases, both spouses and children will need financial help before the divorce is finalized.
Come prepared with documentation and organized information. Doing so strengthens your case. Your attorney will help you gather the correct paperwork and keep it in order.
Be aware of the emotions that may arise during these hearings. It’s important to remain respectful and composed throughout.
7. Attend Trial if Necessary
Couples who work together using mediation, arbitration, or other methods can avoid taking their divorce to court. Others, unfortunately, must let a judge decide their fate.
Here are some things to keep in mind when attending your divorce trial.
- Dress appropriately for the courtroom, opting for conservative and professional attire.
- Make sure you have all necessary documents and evidence prepared and organized for easy access. Your attorney will help with this part.
- During the trial, both attorneys will probably question you. Remain calm and composed throughout the process. You can practice questioning beforehand with your lawyer. Answer questions as honestly and accurately as possible.
For assistance with your divorce, you can call our office at (515) 200-7571 and set up a consultation.