In this article...

In this article, we will discuss uncontested divorces in Iowa. Specifically, we will address:

  • What is an “Uncontested Divorce”?
  • How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Iowa?
  • How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Iowa?
  • Can I Complete an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa Without an Attorney?

If you are facing a divorce, you may be concerned about the length and cost of the legal battle ahead of you. However, if you and your spouse agree on all of the issues involved in your divorce, you may be able to avoid the long and expensive process of a messy divorce by obtaining an “uncontested divorce”. In this article, we will discuss uncontested divorces in Iowa. Specifically, we will address:

  • What is an “Uncontested Divorce”?
  • How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Iowa?
  • How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Iowa?
  • Can I Complete an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa Without an Attorney?

What is an “Uncontested Divorce”?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree on all issues in the case, such as property division, allocation of debts, child custody, alimony and child support. Prior agreement on these issues can make the divorce process quicker and smoother for all parties. If there are any issues that you and your spouse cannot agree upon, these will have to be resolved by a judge at trial.  

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Iowa?

In Iowa, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period that must run before a judge can issue a final “Decree of Dissolution of Marriage”. This waiting period applies whether or not you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce, and will not be waived except in emergency situations.  

The waiting period begins to run once all initial paperwork has been filed with the court by the Petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) and served on the Respondent (the other spouse). During this period, you and your spouse can draft a written divorce settlement on your own or with the help of an attorney. This will cover the details of debt allocation, property division, etc. This time can also be used to ask the court for any temporary orders. For more information on temporary orders, check out this article. If all issues are settled and all required documents have been filed by the end of the 90 days, you need not wait any longer and your divorce can be finalized.  

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Iowa?

There is no separate process for an uncontested divorce in Iowa, and thus, there is no difference in cost to file for divorce, whether contested or uncontested. The current filing fee to be submitted with a petition for divorce in Iowa is $265. However, there are several fees involved in a traditional divorce that may be avoided in an uncontested divorce.  

In a contested divorce, the Petitioner must also pay for personal service of the initial paperwork on the Respondent. In an uncontested divorce, the Respondent spouse is likely to sign an Acceptance of Service form, which will eliminate the need for personal service. Similarly, a divorce with unresolved issues requires additional litigation. This may result in longer mediation sessions (which are typically charged at an hourly rate) or higher attorney fees.  

Can I Complete an Uncontested Divorce in Iowa Without an Attorney?

The short answer is, yes. You are not legally required to hire an attorney for your divorce in Iowa. Iowa’s judicial branch provides online divorce forms for “pro se” litigants, or those looking to represent themselves in court without the help of an attorney. For more information on “pro se” divorces in Iowa, check out our article entitled What is a “Pro Se” Divorce | Iowa Divorce Laws. There are separate forms provided for a divorce with children and a divorce without children. Be careful that you are using the correct forms. If you have any questions about the uncontested divorce process, contact an experienced family law attorney at O’Flaherty Law today at 630-324-6666.

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