Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage) is a legal termination of a marriage. To get a divorce in Iowa, the petitioner generally must be an Iowa resident for one (1) year. Iowa is a no-fault divorce state. Thus, the parties to a divorce in Iowa merely need to allege that there has been a breakdown in 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.
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Iowa Code section 598.5(7). Suits must be filed in the district court in which either spouse lives at the time of filing or where the spouse being filed against can be served. The court may order either spouse to pay "spousal support" (alimony) to the other party.
There are generally three types of alimony awarded:
The court may order regular monthly payments or a lump sum payment. There is no limit to the period that the courts can award alimony for. The court may modify future payments unless the decree says it cannot. Generally, alimony in Iowa does not automatically terminate upon remarriage. However, the recipient of Iowa alimony must show that extraordinary circumstances exist which require the continuation of Iowa alimony payments.
In an Iowa divorce proceeding, the Iowa Courts will also divide the property and debts of the parties. Iowa Courts do not require an equal division of marital assets and debts, however, Iowa case law states that it should be a general goal of the trial courts to make the division of property approximately equal.
In making a property division in an Iowa divorce the courts will look at a variety of factors including but not limited to:
Normally, the parties will have joint custody of the children with physical care and visitation to be determined based upon what is in the best interest of the minor children. Child support is established from the Iowa Child Support Guidelines based on the combined incomes of the parties, the number and ages of the children, and other considerations.
A parent is not relieved of his or her child support obligation by merely not exercising their visitation. Rather, the parents' obligation will run until a subsequent order modifies it, the parental rights are terminated.
The divorce is finalized once the court has written the divorce decree. The information in the decree is twofold:
This decree is final and required. If either person does not comply with the divorce order, then you could be fined or put in jail.
If you disagree with the court’s divorce decree, then you can make an appeal to modify the order. To do this, you would submit a “Petition to Modify”. However, you can only request an order modification if something significant has changed since the judge made the original decree.
Start on your legal matter with a free case evaluation from The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw PLC, and learn more about Iowa divorce laws.