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DO IT YOURSELF ONLINE DIVORCE IN IOWA

For those who qualify to use the pro se forms, Iowa offers a simple, step-by-step simplified pro se divorce. Completion of the forms depends, in part, on whether a party is the petitioner, the spouse initiating the divorce, or the respondent, the spouse who is served with divorce papers.

Iowa Grounds for Divorce

Iowa law recognizes a "no-fault" divorce, which is based on the ground that 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. No finding of fault is necessary, but the court can order the spouses to make a reconciliation effort for a period of 60 days.

Iowa Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

Both spouses have a one-year residency requirement, unless the petitioner is not a resident and personally serves the respondent who is a resident. The parties file for a dissolution of marriage in the county where either spouse resides.

Iowa Online Divorce Process

Iowa has one set of forms for pro se filers (a person filing his or her own divorce) used by couples who have no financially dependent children. Divorcing spouses must use these forms if they don't have children, but couples with minor children cannot use them.

Iowa online divorce process The petitioner completes the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Minor Children (Form FL-101), the Coversheet for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With No Minor Children (Form FL-102), the Confidential Information Form (Form FL-103), and the Original Notice for Personal Service. Once served with the petitioner's divorce papers, the respondent spouse completes the Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Minor Children (Form FL-115) if the petition was labeled FL-101. If the petition wasn't labeled FL-101, the respondent should use the General Answer Form (Form FL-116).

Neither party should sign any affidavits, oaths, or other sworn statements unless he or she is in the presence of a notary public. A petitioner with children completes documents similar to the ones outlined above, but the contents of the petition may be different. Moreover, the petitioner needs to complete child support and visitation documents.

The petitioner makes two photocopies of the Petition and Original Notice for Personal Service if service is by mail, or makes three copies if service is by a sheriff or process server physically handing the documents to the respondent. The petitioner files the original documents and the photocopies with the Civil Court's county clerk's office. This must be filed in the county in which either party resides. Filing the petition allows the clerk to make record of the case and initiates the divorce process.

The petitioner pays a filing fee unless he or she is indigent in which case he or she may complete the Application and Affidavit to Defer Payment of Costs (Form FL-109) and if the court agrees the filling fees are absorbed by the court. The clerk files the original papers and time stamps the papers, including the photocopies, and signs the original notice form. The petitioner then completes a Report of Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment form (except items 18 through 22, which the clerk completes). Later, the couple delivers the Marital Settlement Agreement, which confirms that both parties agree on the distribution of assets and debts and the Parenting Agreement. After filing, the petitioner serves the divorce papers - the Original Notice and one copy of the petition -- on the respondent within 90 days of filing or the petitioner's case is dismissed.

The petitioner serves the respondent, and files the appropriate proof of service form with the court. The respondent has only 20 days from the date he or she receives the petition to file an answer in the court where the petition was filed. If he or she does not make the 20-day deadline, the court can enter a default judgment against the respondent, which means that the court makes decisions regarding the divorce without any input from the respondent. Here is more information regarding the process of filing uncontested divorce papers in Iowa.

No decree dissolving a marriage shall be granted in any proceeding before 90 days from the day the original notice was served upon the respondent. Learn the best ways to save money when doing your own divorce in Iowa.

Do It Yourself Online Divorce in Iowa

Our online software makes it easy to file for divorce in Iowa. In as little as 20 minutes you can have all your completed divorce forms and filing instructions ready for signing and filing. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times. See if you qualify below:

Iowa Property Division

In Iowa, the courts generally accept a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the District Court divides the marital estate within the Judgment of Divorce.

An equitable distribution state, the Iowa court divides all marital property unless the spouses agreed otherwise. Equitable does not mean equal, or even half, but rather what the District Court considers fair.

In making equitable distribution, the District court considers 13 factors including anything "the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case." This gives the court great liberty, which is what is feared most by those spouses willing to avoid a settlement.

Marital property includes all earnings occurring during the marriage and everything acquired with those earnings; separate property means gifts and inheritances given just to that spouse, personal injury awards received by one spouse, and the proceeds of a pension that is vested (that is, the pensioner became legally entitled to receive it) before the marriage. Pensions purchased with a spouse's separate funds remain separate property.

The District Court assigns a monetary value on the marital property and debt, and then distributes the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Courts generally accept the value when the spouses mutually agree on a value of a particular asset.

As in other jurisdictions, divorcing couples normally sell the marital home and divide the profits, or sell the home to one party and refinance, or the custodial parent occupies the house until the last child leaves school and then sell it. However, the court may be inclined to award the family home to the spouse with primary physical custody of children.

Retirement benefits are marital property when the worker meets all the requirements for payout. This is called vested. In Iowa, vested pensions are marital property. A pension vests when all the requirements to receive the pension have been met. Plans come in many varieties, but they are either Defined Contribution Plans (DC), such as a 401(k), or Defined Benefit Plans (DB), which is the company pension. That part of a pension accumulated during a marriage is community property and subject to distribution. When spouses share in each other's pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared. The QDRO spells out the terms and conditions of the pension distribution. The instructions set forth the terms and conditions of the distribution - how much of the benefits are to be paid to each party, when such benefits can be paid, how such benefits should be paid, etc.

Alimony and Spousal Support in Iowa

Alimony is called maintenance in Iowa. In granting maintenance, the court considers a variety of factors and circumstances, including length of time the marriage existed, the income earning potential of the spouse requesting maintenance, and tax implications, to name a few.

Marital fault is not a factor in determining maintenance in Iowa.

Spousal Maintenance (alimony) influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the District Court can order support on a case-by-case basis. Courts may order temporary maintenance, which is given when one spouse needs support to live during the period between filing for divorce and final dissolution; short-term maintenance, granted when one spouse needs to obtain an education or skills to become employable, and long-term maintenance, which may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Iowa Child Custody Orders

As in all jurisdictions, the best interest of the child determines contested child custody.

In a divorce in Iowa, if either party requests joint custody, there is a presumption of joint custody. Joint custody does not necessarily require joint physical care. Physical care shall be awarded as is in the best interests of the child.

The courts strive for parents to share as equally as possible in the custody of a child. In many, if not most, situations, joint custody is preferred since both parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child. Joint custody encourages parental cooperation in childrearing.

The relevant factors for determining custody are the parents' capability as the child's custodian; their ability to communicate with each other for the child's benefit; living accommodations or geographical proximity; the history of domestic violence or child abuse, if any; the mental and physical health of the parties involved in custody proceedings; the participation of the parents in child care after their divorce; the child's emotional and psychological needs and suffering if he or she has limited contact with both parents; and the child' s disagreement or support about the custody agreement.

Iowa courts often require all divorcing parents with minor children to complete a mandatory parenting class before granting a divorce in Iowa.

Sometimes a third party, such as grandparents, may be awarded custody when the court determines that both parents are detrimental to the best interests of the child.

Courts enjoy wide latitude in determining visitation. The court may order supervised visitation when the court has reservations about the child's safety.

Iowa Child Support Guidelines

Iowa child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares model, which estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. Iowa bases child support on gross income, but allows deductions for income taxes, FICA, pension deductions, union dues, any medical support paid under a previous child support order, and any child care costs.

Iowa child support is typically calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet, which generates an appropriate Iowa child support obligation according to each spouse's income and other relative numeric factors, such as taxes paid and retirement contributions, etc. Once this amount is determined it is essential to look at any appropriate Iowa child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation.

The court determines how many children -- not only include those who are part of the current support obligation, but also includes children from previous relations -- are under the care of one of the spouses in the present divorce. The children of a subsequent marriage are also considered.

The cost of health insurance on behalf of children from this relationship may be deducted from gross wages. By the same token, if the other parent pays for this coverage, this is deducted from that parent's gross income and this will affect both contributions.

Either or both parents may be ordered to pay a reasonable and necessary amount of child support.

Service of Process for an Iowa Divorce

The filing spouse serves the divorce paperwork -- copies of the divorce papers filed in the Clerk's Office --on the receiving spouse. This means Process may also be served at the individual's house or usual place of abode to any person residing therein that is at least 18 years old.

Iowa law permits service via certified mail, private process server, or sheriff's service. Personal service is the preferred method of service, which requires that the papers be delivered in person. Most people hire a professional process server.

There are two service options. One, the petitioner can deliver the forms in person or through regular first class U.S. Mail. Service includes the Acceptance of Service (Form FL-105), which the respondent signs so the petitioner can file it with the court as proof of service. Or, the petitioner can ask the sheriff or a private process server to physically hand the documents to the respondent (known as "personal service") and complete the Directions for Service of Original Notice (Form FL-106). The sheriff or process server then files the proof of service with the court.

When the spouse is missing, the law permits service by publishing notification of the divorce Petition in a local newspaper.

A Simple Divorce Process
Step 1 See if you qualify & create account!
Step 2 Answer the questions at your own pace.
Step 3 Print, sign and file your divorce forms with your local court (instantly review & print your forms online or have them sent US Priority Mail at no additional charge).

START HERE

Only $299 (flat-fee)

or 2 monthly payments of $157
or 3 monthly payments of $109
or 4 monthly payments of $84
Payment Options Do Not Delay Divorce
Instant Delivery - Instant Changes
100% Guarantee of Court Approval
or Your Money Back
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