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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will answer the question “how long does it take to get divorced in Iowa?”, including:  “how long does it take to go through a divorce in Iowa?”, and “do I have to go to Court to get divorced?”.

What are the Requirements to Get Divorced in Iowa?

Iowa law requires at least one of the parties to be a resident of Iowa for at least one year before a spouse can file for divorce.  Iowa is a no-fault state, meaning that neither spouse needs to provide proof of why, what or who caused the marriage to end.  The “petitioner,” which is a term for the spouse filing for divorce, need only state that the marriage is no longer reconcilable due to irreconcilable differences.

How Long Does it Take to go Through a Divorce in Iowa?

The length of a divorce will always vary from case to case.  Once papers have been filed for a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage,” there is a mandatory 90 day waiting period after the “petitioner” serves the Petition to the “respondent” before the parties can be legally divorced.  The spouse seeking the divorce is referred to as the “petitioner,” and the spouse receiving the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” is referred to as the “respondent.”

If both parties can reach an agreement about the “division of assets” and any other issues that may arise between the spouses, you may not have to appear in Court to receive your final “Decree of Dissolution.”  However, if the parties are in agreement but there are children between the spouses, a brief Court appearance is likely necessary so that a judge can explain the responsibilities of each party and ensure that matters of custody, visitation and support are dictated in the “Decree of Dissolution.”

The state of Iowa also requires spouses with children to take a parenting class entitled “Children in the Middle” before issuing a final Decree.  If there is not an agreement between the spouses, it can take over a year to finalize the divorce, depending on the number and complexity of issues the spouses are arranging.

Do I Have to go to Court to get Divorced?

Not necessarily. The state of Iowa offers a program called 3StepDivorce, which can be utilized if both spouses agree about everything and are both willing to sign the divorce paperwork. However, Court appearances will be required by both parties if any matters of the divorce are contested.  Also, if there are any children of the marriage, a Court appearance will likely be necessary, regardless of whether or not the divorce is contested.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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