Iowa Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers IA


Iowa is a typical no-fault divorce state. It is not necessary to have a fault ground for obtaining or giving a divorce in Iowa. The petitioner can request for the case anytime. The state follows liberal family court laws. Iowa has a divorce rate of 3.2% per 1,000 of the state population which is not that high as compared to other states.

In Iowa annulment is preferred over divorce for, religious, financial and social reasons. However, since annulment has strict and severe requirements and divorce, being an easy option, is much preferred.

Lawyers and attorneys struggle to identify your issue with concerns and assist you find an effective solution to your divorce and its related issues.

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Divorce Grounds in Iowa

There is only one divorce ground in Iowa, which is:

Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

According to this divorce ground in Iowa, “if 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.”

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage stands for a marital relationship’s breakdown beyond any prospect of reconciliation. You and your spouse can file for divorce if so is the case under this divorce ground in Iowa.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Iowa.

Divorce Laws – Iowa

Iowa has following divorce laws:


Iowa divorce laws require you to meet the residency requirement of the state. The (plaintiff) spouse should have been a resident of the state for one year before the case is filed. If the condition is not met the case will be dismissed.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

According to Iowa divorce laws, the essential documents required for filing a divorce are:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and
  • Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

Other documents that are typically filed during the process are:

  • Verification
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Notice of Final Hearing

Distribution of Property

Iowa divorce laws support “equitable distribution”. The marital property is subjected to equal (fair) distribution after divorce is announced. The court facilitates both the parties to reach to a conclusion in order to properly resolve the property and debt issues. Otherwise the divorce court declares the property award. The distribution excludes inherited property or gifts.

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Change of Name or Restoration of Name

A spouse can request to have his or her name restored to a former name after they are permanently separated.

Mediation Counseling

Mediation counseling is enforced by the court at any time to let the parties participate in conciliation efforts for sixty days or less. Iowa divorce laws require these recommendations of such reconciliation to be sent to the domestic relations division of the court, public or private marriage counselors, family service agencies, community health centers, physicians and clergy.


According to Iowa divorce laws, the court may grants alimony to either husband or wife individually for a definite or indefinite length of time after considering the relevant factors in an individual case.

Child Custody

The court decides child custody issue in favor of child’s best interest. The court also considers whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the child’s wishes or whether the child has strong opposition with it. The child’s age and maturity are mainly considered.

Child Support

Iowa divorce laws support the Percentage of Income formula. According to this formula child support is calculated on the basis of income of the parent who is taking the custody. According to the guidelines parent cannot support on monthly amount basis.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information in your state.

Iowa Annulment Laws

Annulment is a legal procedure of terminating an illegal marriage. The major difference between divorce and annulment is that a divorce is the termination of a legal marriage while annulment is the ending-up of a void marriage.

The grounds for annulment differ from state to state depending on the annulment rate and the laws of the state. Iowa annulment grounds under Iowa annulment laws are:


Misrepresenting or getting the consent of marriage by fraudulent acts is a felony. You can obtain annulment if your spouse misrepresented him or herself at the time of marriage.


Incest means having marital relations with too close a blood relative. Iowa annulment laws strictly prohibit marriages between parent/child, stepchild, grandparent/grandchild, aunt/nephew, uncle/niece etc. Such marriages are not recognized by the marriage laws and thus can be annulled under Iowa annulment laws.

Mental Incapacitation

According to Iowa annulment laws, you can obtain annulment if your spouse has a mental illness which is beyond cure.

Physical Disability

If your spouse has a physical disability which is adversely affecting your married life, you can file for annulment under Iowa annulment laws.

Underage Marriage

According to Iowa annulment laws, marriages of spouses under the legal marriageable age, without the permission of court or parents, are invalid. And therefore such marriages can be annulled.

Iowa Divorce Laws Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long must I be a resident of the State of Iowa to file for divorce?

    You must be a resident for either 12 months or 1 year (whichever is longer) before being able to file for divorce.

  2. What if my spouse doesn’t reside in the State of Iowa?

    The Iowa divorce law doesn’t require your spouse to reside in the State of Iowa but, does complicate your divorce process.

  3. How does this complicate my divorce process?

    Under the Iowa divorce law your spouse is required to be served with a divorce notice to notify him/her of the divorce complaint that you have filed. As your spouse isn’t in Iowa you will need the services of a server who can serve this notice. This of course requires more paper work, more time and more money.

  4. How long will it take for me get my divorce?

    The uniqueness of each divorce case makes it hard for anyone to predict how long it will take for you to end your marriage.

  5. What is the court filing fee for divorce in Iowa?

    Different counties in Iowa have different court filing fee for divorce.

  6. How do Iowa divorce lawyers charge their clients?

    Iowa divorce lawyers normally charge by the hour. Some Iowa divorce lawyers charge a set fee.

  7. How much will my divorce cost me?

    The uniqueness of each divorce case makes it hard to say how much your divorce will cost you. On average a divorce costs $18,000.

  8. Can I represent myself?

    The Iowa divorce law gives you the right to represent yourself in court however; it isn’t advisable to do so. An Iowa divorce lawyer understands the divorce process much better and thus will represent your interests better in court.

  9. Do we need two Iowa divorce lawyers to represent us separately?

    Yes, Iowa divorce law requires that both spouses be represented separately in court.

  10. Is a common law marriage legally recognized in Iowa?

    Yes, Iowa does recognize common law marriages. In Iowa a common law marriage is established when both spouses’ intend to and agree to be married. They must have continuous cohabitation and must be publicly declared as husband and wife.

  11. Is Iowa a No-Fault State?

    Yes, Iowa dissolves marriages without requiring fault.

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