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Iowa Dissolution of Marriage Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Iowa Dissolution of Marriage laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner

The spouse who will initiate the Dissolution of Marriage by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent

The spouse who does not initiate the Dissolution of Marriage with the court.

Court Name:
In the District Court for the County of _____________ , Iowa

The proper name of the court in which a Dissolution of Marriage is filed in the state of Iowa. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
https://childsupport.dhs.state.ia.us/welcome.asp

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Dissolution of Marriage Document:
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Iowa Dissolution of Marriage process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Dissolution of Marriage Document:
Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Iowa Dissolution of Marriage process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
District Clerk’s Office

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Dissolution of Marriage process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

If the defendant spouse is a resident of Iowa and was personally served legal papers, there is no residency requirement for the spouse filing the legal separation. Otherwise, there is a 1-year residency requirement. The grounds for legal separation in Iowa are that 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. [Iowa Code Annotated; Sections 598.5, 598.6, 598.17, and 598.28].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable Iowa law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Dissolution of Marriage.