We represent clients in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, Urbandale, Altoona, Polk City, Grimes, Clive, Pleasant Hill, Johnston, Windsor Heights, Norwalk, Mitchellville, Carlisle, Runnells, Elkhart, Granger, Alleman, Sheldahl and all other cities, towns and rural residents of Polk County, Iowa.
The Polk County Courthouse is located in downtown Des Moines at 500 Mulberry, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. We now file divorce cases for Polk and all other central Iowa counties electronically. Fewer trips to the courthouse, wonderful!
We handle dissolution clients in West Des Moines, Adel, Waukee, Dallas Center, Perry, Van Meter, Woodward, Granger, Redfield, Minburn and all other Dallas County communities. See Dallas County Courthouse.
|Iowa cities served include:|
Winterset, Earlham and other Madison County areas.
Des Moines, Indianola, Norwalk, West Des Moines, Carlisle and other Warren County communities.
Knoxville, Pella, Melcher-Dallas and other Marion County areas.
Newton, Colfax, Prairie City and other Jasper Co. towns.
Marshalltown, State Center, LeGrand and other Marshall County areas.
Mathias Law Office is located at 4800 Mills Civic Parkway, Ste. 218 in West Des Moines, Iowa 50265.
Which court hears divorce cases in Iowa?
Iowa divorce cases are heard in District Court. This is the primary trial court in Iowa. We also have District Associate Judges in Iowa, but they do not hear divorces. Of course, divorce cases can end up in the appellate system which takes you to the Iowa Court of Appeals and final the Iowa Supreme Court as your final stop in most divorce cases since there is no federal issue involved that could get you to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Where can we file divorce in Iowa?
We can file your divorce in the county of residence of either party. It is improper to file for divorce in Iowa if the parties have moved into the state for the purpose of getting divorced. See, list of Iowa Counties.
Can my case be filed electronically?
Iowa has joined the modern age! See, list of counties in Iowa allowing e-filing of divorce.
Will I actually go to court or meet the Judge?
Historically, Iowa required a “prove up” at minimum for a divorce decree to be approved by the court. At least one of the parties had to go before the Judge and testify. More recently, no prove up is required. So you will not go to court or meet a Judge unless you have a contested case. Even if your case is contested, because mediation is required, you still may not get to court. Iowa judicial district map courtesy of the Iowa Association of Legal Assistants.
Where should I park if I do go to the Polk County courthouse?
The closest parking garage to the Polk County Courthouse is one block away at 5th and Walnut. You can also park for free if you drive far enough south of the courthouse and find an unmetered street. See, google on downtown Des Moines parking. Or you can park on the meters near the courthouse. If there are no jury trials on you have a good chance of finding something close. Tickets are $15 if you are late returning. We have devilishly efficient meter maids in Des Moines, so beware. See downtown Des Moines Parking.
What is appropriate courtroom attire in Iowa?
You will see people in all sorts of clothing in court. Our Iowa Judges want everyone to have access to the courthouse, even good Iowan’s who don’t own a suit or a dress. But if you do, it is better to go ahead and wear a suit or similarly formal attire. At a minimum, having clothing that is clean and in good repair conveys to the Judge that we are serious about our appearance and our family law matter. We file all Iowa dissolution cases via Iowa Courts Online.
What happens in the courtroom?
In a divorce case, you may have hearings on temporary orders where a party is seeking temporary custody, support and or visitation. The husband or wife may ask for temporary possession of the family home or other property. Later you may have hearings including a contested hearing to determine who ends up with child custody and related matters and ends with a divorce decree. Judge like to give each party a chance to be heard before ruling. Iowa family law forms.
Are divorce cases in Iowa heard in Law or in Equity?
Iowa divorce cases are heard in Equity. This means our Judges get to apply common sense to find the best solution. The other approach is to hear a case at Law. If a case is heard at law, it means the Judge is required to strictly apply precedent. When this happens, the outcome can sometimes seem silly, even to the Judge. Our office covers all of the Des Moines metropolitan area.
What if I am not satisfied with the decision of the Judge?
Naturally this happens frequently in the courts, and especially often in family law where emotions are high. If you are unhappy with a ruling on your divorce, you can appeal or you can later request a modification although Judges prefer to see a substantial change in circumstances before considering a modification. Click here for Iowa Supreme Court opinions.
How can I read Iowa divorce court decisions?
You can search for Iowa divorce opinions on Iowa Courts Online. You can also sign up for email copies of Iowa Supreme Court opinions. See Iowa State Bar Association: Divorce Law.
Can I search for court information about my Iowa divorce attorney?
Yes, you can check the Iowa Judicial Branch Attorney Search. This search should turn up history of discipline if any. See Iowa Lawyer Magazine.
Additional Resources - Iowa Counties
List of county courthouses in Iowa. The 5th Judicial District includes Des Moines. Guide to E-Filing in Iowa Courts. See Polk County Wikipedia. Polk County Bar Association. See Iowa counties map. Polk County Iowa courthouse resources.