Iowa Uncontested Divorce
This information is an overview of the uncontested Iowa divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Iowa.
To file for a divorce in Iowa, the defendant spouse must be a resident of the state and have been personally served the divorce papers. There is no residency requirement for the filing spouse. If this is not the case, there is a residency period of one year required. Moreover, there is a 90-day waiting period for the divorce to become final. The action may be filed in the county where either spouse resides.
The only grounds for divorce are No-Fault, which means a "[b]reakdown 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."
Actions are filed in the District Court of the county.
The filing spouse is called the Petitioner; the responding spouse is called the Respondent.
Legal separations are permitted under the same terms and conditions of divorce.
Iowa does not offer a summary or simplified divorce procedure.
To file for a divorce that does not involve minor children, the Plaintiff must file the following forms:
> A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Minor Children, form FL-101, which identifies the parties, birth dates, addresses, and states that a) there are no children under 18 born or adopted in the marriage, no children over 18 still in need of support and c) that the wife is not pregnant and states that the marriage "is broken and cannot be saved’ and requests relief;
If the Respondent cannot or will not accept service, resides outside the state, the Petitioner must also file the following forms:
> A Motion and Affidavit to Serve by Publication, form FL-107, which attests to the efforts made by the Petitioner to locate the missing spouse, and
If the Respondent fails to answer within 20 days of the last date of publication, the Petitioner may petition the court for a default decree 90 days later.
If the Petitioner cannot afford the costs of the filing, he or she may also file an Application and Affidavit to Defer Payment of Costs, form FL-109, which exempts him or her from filing fees.
After the Petitioner has filed the appropriate above forms, either he or she or the Respondent may file any of these forms depending upon the circumstances of the couple:
> A Motion, FL-122, which asks the court to take some action on the case, including a) changing any hearing date, b) awarding temporary support, c) ordering counseling (conciliation), d) setting a hearing date for a Divorce Decree by default, e) abbreviating the 90-day waiting period or f) making any other request;
If the Respondent fails to complete a Financial Affidavit, FL-124, the Petitioner will be awarded a default decree and all that he or she asks for in the Petition.
> Affidavit of Mailing Notice, FL-125, which the Petitioner must file if the Respondent was served Notice by Publication and now asks the court for a Decree by default;
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