1. How much does an Agreed Iowa divorce cost?
Agreement, No Kids- $900 Fixed Attorney Fee, plus $235 Court Costs – you are in agreement on all issues.
Agreement With Kids- $1,500 Fixed Attorney Fee, plus $235 Court Costs, Children in the Middle $40 – you are in agreement on custody, visitation, support etc.
Note- Agreed means you are already in agreement on issues like custody, support, visitation, spousal support if any and property distribution. If you have issues you are not in agreement on it is a contested case which requires a lot more attorney time and fees.
Best to come in once you have all your fees available.
2. Can you represent both of us?
Because we have a duty of loyalty to our client and cannot serve two masters well, Iowa law specifically prohibits us from representing both husband and wife in divorce. Usually the spouse in an uncontested divorce does not hire their own attorney although it is fine to do so if they wish. As long as they are in agreement, they normally just sign off on the settlement agreement. Iowa Law: In no event shall a lawyer represent both parties in dissolution or marriage proceedings. Iowa R. of Prof’l Resp. 32:1.7(c)(2016).
3. Can we waive child support?
Iowa courts are very serious about protecting children of divorce. The last thing they want is for kids to suffer for lack of financial support. So Judges do not agree to waive support even when the parties request it. But there are plenty of easy ways to deal with it that Jeff can help with. Child support is determined by the Iowa Child Support Guidelines. It is a mechanical formula based on income.
4. What is the most common custody arrangement?
In my practice, the most common arrangement by far is Joint Physical Care with more or less equal parenting time by agreement for both parents, meaning there is a degree of flexibility week to week depending on work schedules, kids activities, etc. The parent with higher income pays modest child support to the other parent. This is the best way to preserve great bonds between both parents and the kids. It also reduces animosity some kids have toward the parent with primary custody over having inadequate time with the non-custodial parent.
5. How long does Iowa divorce take?
There is a 90 day waiting period from the day we file your acceptance of service. So uncontested cases take a bit over three months. Contested cases can take two years or more.
6. How does Alimony work in Iowa?
Alimony is not as common as it was when women were less likely to work. Iowa courts came to rarely award alimony and then in 2015, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that alimony should normally be awarded in long term marriages (20 years or more) so we have recently seen more frequent awards. Some of my clients simply make their own agreement on alimony, often for a limited amount of time while the spouse with the lower income has time to adjust. But most cases do not involve alimony. In some cases, parties will do a property settlement instead of alimony since alimony is modifiable and a property settlement is not. Also, alimony is taxable income to the recipient but a property settlement is not.
7. How do I get started?
Fill out the contact form above, email or call Jeff anytime for personal answers from Jeff and not a legal assistant. Jeff will send you a case evaluation form that takes about 15 minutes to complete. When we meet you can sign the petition so Jeff can file right away. Then your spouse accepts service. We file a Financial Affidavit and Settlement Agreement. If there are kids Jeff will work up a Child Support Worksheet and you will take the Children in the Middle course. Taking action reduces stress!