Accessible Iowa Divorce Lawyers That Pursue Your Goals
Divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating for you, your spouse, and especially for your children. Our Des Moines divorce attorneys can guide you through the legal process as smoothly as possible. Our lawyers put you and your children's interests first, look for the most amicable solution possible and do everything we can to minimize your family's stress. However, if a peaceful settlement proves impossible, our trial attorneys are prepared to fight for you and your children in court to verdict.
Complete Divorce Services from Engaged & Determined Attorneys
Our Des Moines divorce lawyers and family law paralegals strive to provide skilled, aggressive, and cost-effective legal services. We understand that a great deal of your stress comes from not knowing what to expect from the divorce process, so we provide the information you need to maintain your peace of mind. From the moment you retain our services, we remain accessible with flexible office hours and 24-hour phone service so you can have your divorce questions answered as they arise.
Whether we pursue mediation to achieve an uncontested divorce or litigate contentious issues to uphold your parental and property rights, you can be confident that you're receiving quality representation for all your divorce concerns.
We can assist you with matters involving:
- Child custody and support — The court makes decisions based on the best interests of the children. We present your family law case persuasively to protect your parental rights and the welfare of your children.
- Equitable distribution of property — The court is charged with identifying marital assets and debts and equitably dividing them. As your advocates, we assert your rights to retain your separate property and receive the share of marital assets to which you're entitled.
- Alimony — Spousal support is not automatic. The court considers many factors when deciding whether alimony is called for and in what amount. Our attorneys work diligently to persuade the court to weigh factors that favor your future financial security.
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: Drafting, reviewing, or challenging prenuptial and postnuptial agreements requires legal expertise. Our lawyers assist in creating fair agreements or contesting them if they're unfair or invalid.
- Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: We offer mediation and alternative dispute resolution services to help divorcing couples reach agreements outside of court, reducing conflict and expenses.
- Post-Divorce Modifications: Circumstances might change post-divorce, requiring modifications to agreements. We assist clients in petitioning for modifications related to child custody, support, or other terms of the divorce decree.
- Domestic Violence or Abuse Issues: In cases involving domestic violence or abuse, our lawyers help clients obtain protective orders and ensure their safety. We advocate for our clients and assist in navigating legal proceedings to protect them from harm.
Your divorce does not have to be an agonizing process. With compassionate legal counsel, you can look forward with confidence and hope.
Am I Eligible to File for Divorce in Iowa?
Generally, there is a one-year residency requirement for filing for dissolution of marriage in Iowa. If you have been a resident in Iowa for at least one year but your spouse is not an Iowa resident, you can file for divorce in your county of residence. If you are not an Iowa resident, but your spouse is an Iowa resident, you can file for divorce in the county where the resident spouse resides if they are personally served. If both spouses are Iowa residents, then the petition for dissolution of marriage can be filed in the county where either spouse resides.
In Iowa, divorcees can choose to file for a no-fault or fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the parties simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In a fault-based divorce, one party alleges that the other has engaged in behavior, such domestic violence, substance abuse, or adultery, that lead to the divorce.
When an individual files for a fault-based divorce, they must prove to the court that the other party is responsible for the fault they allege lead to the divorce.
If you and your spouse are eligible for divorce, the filing may just be the beginning of an impending legal battle in Iowa courts. Consult an experienced Des Moines family law attorney as soon as you think divorce is on the horizon. With the proper planning and legal guidance, alimony payments and property distribution can be determined in the most favorable manner possible. To prevent venue shopping, Iowa law provides residency requirements for filing for divorce. Hope Law Firm can help you determine whether you are eligible for divorce and, if you are, walk you through the process.
Uncontested & Contested Divorce in Iowa
Whether you choose to file for a contested or uncontested divorce could largely dictate how your divorce proceeds.
If the parties disagree on any aspect of the divorce, they must instead file for a contested divorce.
In the divorce process, the party who files for divorce acts as the petitioner, while their spouse acts as the respondent.
The petitioner begins the divorce process by filing a petition with their county court. The petition for divorce includes information about the reason for the divorce, details about the marriage, and the petitioner's proposed terms for the divorce. The petitioner must also file a summons for the respondent and serve them with a notice of the divorce using a third party such as a law enforcement professional or a process server.
At this stage, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested changes how the divorce proceeds.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties may file a marital settlement agreement with the court. The parties can collaborate to draft and sign such an agreement, which details the terms of their divorce. After the parties file the agreement with the court, they must wait 90 days to receive a divorce decree from the court. If the court determines that the terms of the marital settlement agreement are equitable, it will use those terms in the divorce decree that finalizes the divorce.
In a contested divorce, the respondent can file a response with the court specifying their own terms for the divorce.
At this point, the court may order the parties to attend hearings and issue temporary orders. Temporary orders govern how parties handle processes such as child custody and property division while the divorce is ongoing.
A contested divorce can transition into an uncontested divorce if the parties can use a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation or collaborative law to resolve their differences.
If the parties cannot agree on terms for their divorce, they can continue litigating their contested divorce. The court will hold a trial. At the trial, the parties have the opportunity to present evidence supporting their case, can call forth witnesses, and may cross-examine the other party.
After hearing cases from both parties, the judge will determine what would constitute equitable terms for the divorce. The court will then issue a divorce decree incorporating those terms.
Whether you wish to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce, having a Des Moines divorce lawyer you can trust by your side is vital. Our family law attorneys will work with you throughout the divorce process to ensure you find the best path forward in the dissolution of your marriage.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
The cost of a divorce in Iowa can vary significantly based on several factors. While I can't provide exact figures, I can outline the common factors that influence the overall cost:
- Complexity of the Case: The more complex the divorce case, the higher the cost. Issues like child custody disputes, significant assets, or contentious disagreements over property division tend to increase legal fees.
- Legal Representation: Hiring a divorce attorney is a significant cost factor. Lawyer fees vary based on their experience, expertise, and the amount of work required for your case.
- Court Fees and Filing Costs: Filing for divorce in Iowa involves various court fees and administrative expenses. These fees can vary depending on the county where the divorce is filed.
- Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution: Opting for mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods can sometimes lower costs compared to a full-blown court battle.
- Child Custody and Support: Cases involving child custody and support tend to be more complex and might require additional legal work, impacting the overall cost.
- Property Division: Disputes over property and asset division can prolong the divorce process, leading to increased legal fees.
- Spousal Support (Alimony): Determining and negotiating spousal support can add to the overall cost if it becomes a contentious issue.
- Post-Divorce Modifications: If modifications to the divorce settlement are needed in the future, additional legal fees may arise.
It's essential to discuss fees and costs upfront with our Des Moines divorce lawyer at Hope Law Firm. An initial consultation can provide clarity on the potential expenses involved in your specific case. Additionally, some lawyers may offer different fee structures, such as hourly rates, flat fees, or retainer agreements, which can impact the overall cost of your divorce.
Why Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
Having a competent divorce lawyer from our firm supports you in navigating the legal complexities, safeguarding your rights, and pursuing the best possible outcome during this challenging time. At Hope Law Firm, we play a crucial role in guiding you through the entire legal process, handling all the necessary paperwork, negotiating the terms of your divorce on your behalf, and advocating for your best interests.
Here's why our expertise is vital:
- Legal Knowledge: We have a deep understanding of family law and divorce proceedings. Our expertise allows us to navigate the intricacies of the legal system efficiently.
- Objective Advice: Emotions can run high during a divorce. We provide a rational perspective, helping you make sound decisions even when emotions are overwhelming.
- Negotiation Skills: We act as mediators, negotiating on your behalf to reach fair settlements regarding property division, child custody, and support. Our aim is to achieve the most favorable outcomes for you.
- Paperwork and Procedures: Divorce involves a lot of paperwork and procedural steps. We take care of all the necessary documentation and ensure everything is filed correctly and on time, reducing stress for you.
- Court Representation: In case your divorce requires a court appearance, our experienced lawyers represent you professionally, presenting your case persuasively to the judge.
- Protection of Rights: We safeguard your rights throughout the process, making sure you are not taken advantage of or misled.
- Customized Solutions: Each divorce is unique. We tailor our approach to fit your specific situation, providing personalized solutions that address your concerns and priorities.