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IOWA DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
This is a divorce reference guide to understanding divorce in Iowa. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in Iowa Made Easy (See Iowa Divorce Help Center)
- Time Frame: Iowa mandates a 90-day waiting period from the time the initial Petition is filed to the time a judge may sign the final Decree. The parties receive the signed Decree from the court. Once this has been filed, the marriage is legally dissolved.
- Where to File: District Court. "In the District Court for the County of ______________, Iowa." (See Iowa Court Addresses)
- Statute Statutes: Iowa Code Annotated; Title XV Chapter 598 §§ 1-42.
- Name of Action: Dissolution of Marriage.
- Name of Parties: Petitioner, the filing spouse, and respondent, the non-filing spouse.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: No-Fault only.
- Primary Documents Filed: Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. (See IA Forms List With Explanations)
- Physical Separation Required: No.
- Separation Time to File: No.
- Legal Separation Permitted: the ground sfor a legal separation are the same as the grounds for a no-fault divorce.
- Grounds: No-Fault: "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." (See Iowa Laws for Divorce)
- Residency Requirement: There is a 1 year residency requirement for all spouses filing in the state, unless the petitioner in the case is not a resident, then he or she does not have a residency requirement in order to file for a dissolution of marriage, but the respondent must be a resident of Iowa. The parties shall file for a dissolution of marriage in the county where either party resides.
- Mediation Required: The Iowa Code 598.7 states "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." This means the court, if it so desires, can require the parties to attempt mediation prior to proceeding to trial.
- Counseling Required: On request of either spouse or on its own, the court may order a 60-day counseling period called conciliation. If conciliation is ordered, the 90-day waiting period to grant a divorce starts when conciliation is completed. The conciliator may be a member of the clergy, a physician, public or private marriage counselor, or representatives from family service agencies or community mental health centers. Such conciliation procedure may include, but is not limited to, referrals to the Domestic Relations Division of the Court, if established, public or private Marriage Counselors, Family Service Agencies, Community Health Centers, Physicians and Clergy. [Iowa Code 598.16 and 598.19].
- Parenting Classes Required: Within 45 days of the commencement of the case, a course on children's needs is required for all parents when custody is at issue. [Iowa Code Annotated; Section 598.16 and 598.19A].
- Filing Fee: Filing fee in Iowa is $185.
- Where to File for Child Support: In Iowa Child Support Enforcement (Child Support Recovery Unit) is under the umbrella of the Department of Human Services, which maintains 23 offices throughout the state, organized into 4 regions, which establish and enforce child support. Local offices are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST Monday - Friday, except state holidays. The toll free child support automated information line is 1-888-229-9223.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: The supreme court of Iowa enacts Child support guidelines by court rule. The guidelines are based on the Income Shares model, based on gross income.
- Property Division: Iowa is an equitable distribution state.
- Appreciation of Separate Property: Separate property is not subject to a division, except upon a finding that not dividing it is inequitable to the other party or to the children of the marriage.
- Attendance at Hearing: Yes. If it is a default divorce, the spouse that files must go to a hearing. However, if the parties enter into a separation agreement, the spouse that filed for divorce will meet with the judge to review the agreement, but often, this won't actually require a formal court hearing.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: No.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Learn More About Iowa Divorce.
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