Obtaining a divorce in Iowa may seem, at first, just like getting one in any other state. You would be wrong to assume this because, while the Iowa legislature has gotten involved and passed laws and legislation to allow for divorce, the rules are much more lax here than almost anywhere else.
Iowa is strictly a no-fault divorce state. In other states there is both no-fault and at-fault, however this particular state makes it easier than other places to file for divorce. That being said, it must be noted that there can be some fault noted in the divorce proceeding when the court is attempting to divide property. If one or the other party has been egregious to the other, those actions can be taken into consideration when the court divides property, assets and debt.
In a no-fault divorce in Iowa, there can be no accusing one spouse of wrongdoing in order to cause the divorce. Instead, the divorce is based on the fact that the two people involved simply have irreconcilable differences and that there is no hope of any type of conciliation on the part of the two getting a divorce.
In Iowa, one of the two spouses who desire a divorce , either the plaintiff, the one filing for the divorce, or the defendant, the one being filed on, must have lived in the state for 12 months before filing. This is a pretty strict requirement and must be adhered to and be provable to the judge who is presiding over the divorce hearing. He or she may ask you to produce electricity bills, voter registration or other forms of proof that you have resided in Iowa for a year. The judge may also request your presence on the stand to testify to your residency.
Iowa is an “equitable property division” state. This means that anything you earn during the marriage is yours to keep, as well as any income your spouse earned. This must be provable and you may be asked to submit pay stubs, income tax forms and possible W-2s or W-9s. In any case, the more documentation you have the better you will be able to plead your case. If there is any property in your name alone or your spouse's name only, the property is yours. However in a divorce, just because you own it doesn't mean that the judge can't divide it and allow your spouse to manage part or even sell it. It isn't always fair and equitable.
The state of Iowa does its best to puts the interests of the child before the wants and wishes of the parents. The court wants the child to have contact with both parents after the divorce, and the judge may even rule that joint custody is the answer to the child custody issues that arise. Many times, the judge reads the documentation you present and may even call you in for questioning. He may also ask the child what he or she desires.
The question of child support is hotly debated in a divorce by both parents. The standard of living that the child is used to having is taken into consideration as well as the income generated by both parents. Both parents are required to support the child and the child should not be made to suffer because of the dissolution of the marriage. The court will take into consideration how much time each parent spends with the child. If one of the parents is able to make more income but does not take action to accomplish this, the court may demand that this be done.
Knowing what is coming up in a divorce situation can be invaluable. You may want to discuss your separation with an attorney who can answer your questions and can assist you.
While divorce may be common, when you go through it yourself, you still deserve dedicated, personal focus on your rights and unique situation. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you figure out the best way forward, explain the law, and represent you in court if it is ever necessary. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your divorce.