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Divorce: Things to Consider - Iowa Publications …

divorce : Things to Consider A Broad Overview of Areas of Concern Making a difference in the lives of Iowa women Iowa Department of Human Rights Lucas State Office Building Des Moines, IA 50319. Telephone: 515/281-4461, 800/558-4427. Fax: 515/242-6119. divorce : Things to Consider This pamphlet on divorce is meant to give a broad overview of some of the areas of concern which might arise during a divorce proceeding. IT IS BY NO MEANS COMPREHENSIVE AND SHOULD NOT BE. CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. divorce by its nature is personal and each case is different; therefore, it is strongly recommended that you obtain an attorney to properly represent your interests in any of the matters mentioned in this pamphlet or any others that may arise. The following is meant to give you a guide to typical areas for discussion with your attorney. Overview of divorce Procedure ---------------------------------------- --------------------- 2. Specific Issues ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- - 3.

Divorce: Things to Consider This pamphlet on divorce is meant to give a broad overview of some of the areas of concern which might arise during a divorce proceeding.

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Transcription of Divorce: Things to Consider - Iowa Publications …

1 divorce : Things to Consider A Broad Overview of Areas of Concern Making a difference in the lives of Iowa women Iowa Department of Human Rights Lucas State Office Building Des Moines, IA 50319. Telephone: 515/281-4461, 800/558-4427. Fax: 515/242-6119. divorce : Things to Consider This pamphlet on divorce is meant to give a broad overview of some of the areas of concern which might arise during a divorce proceeding. IT IS BY NO MEANS COMPREHENSIVE AND SHOULD NOT BE. CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. divorce by its nature is personal and each case is different; therefore, it is strongly recommended that you obtain an attorney to properly represent your interests in any of the matters mentioned in this pamphlet or any others that may arise. The following is meant to give you a guide to typical areas for discussion with your attorney. Overview of divorce Procedure ---------------------------------------- --------------------- 2. Specific Issues ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- - 3.

2 Custody ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- -------- 3. Visitation ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ------- 4. Child Support ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- - 4. Spousal Support ---------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- 4. Property Settlements ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------- 5. Debts ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------- 6. Homestead ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---- 6. Life Insurance ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- - 6. Health Insurance/Uninsured Medical and Dental Expenses -------------------------------- 6. College Education ---------------------------------------- ------------------------------------- 6.

3 Removal of Children from the State ---------------------------------------- ----------------- 6. Access to Records. ---------------------------------------- ----------------------------------- 7. Birth Name ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---- 7. Attorney Fees ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- - 7. Tax Exemptions ---------------------------------------- --------------------------------------- 7. Income Tax Returns--------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- -- 7. Wills ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ------------ 7. Thanks to: May 1978 Patricia Kamath, attorney, Iowa City November 1981 (revised) Claire Patin, attorney, Indianola March 1986 (revised) Claire Patin, attorney, Indianola Patricia Shoff, attorney, Des Moines Todd Jansen, student, Drake University Law School October 1988 (revised) Janice Becker, attorney, Iowa City Jill Pitsenbarger, student, University of Iowa April 1990 (revised) Sharon A.

4 Mellon, attorney, Iowa City July 1992 (revised) Sharon A. Mellon, attorney, Iowa City March 1996 (revised) Susan Dulek, attorney, Iowa City September 1998 (mediation section revised) Annie Tucker, Iowa City divorce : Things TO Consider /1. Overview of divorce to get an injunction to prevent a spouse from disposing of marital property prior to the final Procedure settlement. If one spouse has harassed or physically abused the other, a temporary injunction may be obtained to prevent these acts from recurring. Iowa has what is known as a no-fault divorce law. This means that one party is no longer On request of either spouse, the Court will provide required to prove in an adversarial proceeding that for a 60-day counseling period known as the other party was at fault or caused the conciliation during the 90-day waiting period. marriage breakup. Instead of proving fault, a The conciliator may be someone requested by the person must simply show there has been a parties or one of the following: clergy, physician, breakdown in the marriage relationship, the public or private marriage counselor, or legitimate objects of matrimony have been representatives from family service agencies or destroyed, and there remains no reasonable community mental health centers.

5 Likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. The party seeking the divorce is the only one who needs The 90-day waiting period is also used by the to testify if all of the issues ( , custody, visitation, parties to negotiate a settlement of such matters as support, property and debt division) have been property ownership, child support, spousal support resolved by a written agreement or the other spouse (alimony), and child custody. In most cases, completely ignores the divorce action ( default ). settlements are agreed upon through this negotiation process, reduced to writing, and approved by the The first step in obtaining a divorce is to file a Court at a final hearing. In cases where the parties petition with the Court for dissolution of cannot reach an agreement, a pretrial conference is marriage defined as a termination of the scheduled. At this pretrial conference, the parties marriage relationship and synonymous with the and their attorneys meet formally at the courthouse term divorce .

6 A copy of the dissolution petition to determine which issues the Court must resolve. and an original notice from the Clerk of Court must If there are children, the court will order the parties be given to the other spouse. Before a person can to go to a class (probably will last four hours), file a petition for dissolution, he or she must have which will discuss how children often are caught in resided in the state for at least one year, or the the middle of the parents' divorce . A trial will be person's spouse must be a resident of Iowa and be scheduled sometime after the pretrial conference personally served (notified in person) in Iowa. The and at least 90 days after the petition was filed. county in which the dissolution is filed is the one divorce cases are heard by a judge without a jury either spouse resides in. and generally these trials can be closed to the public if the Court finds it is in the parties' or the After the petition has been filed, and the other child(ren)'s best interests.

7 Spouse is served with (receives a copy of) the petition, a waiting period of 90 days is required Ordinarily, questions of wrongdoing and fault will before the divorce decree can be granted. This not be heard. However, the question of personal waiting period can be waived only for good cause fitness of each party will be considered if custody of and a showing of emergency or necessity to satisfy the child(ren) is at issue. The Court may, on its own the Court that immediate action is required. During initiative or at the request of either party, appoint an the 90 days, temporary orders may be obtained by impartial third attorney to represent the interests of either spouse that will give her or him attorney fees; the child(ren) at the hearing. The Court may also temporary custody of the children; child support; order that a home study or child custody evaluation alimony; or, if there has been physical abuse, the be made to assist the Court in resolving the issue of right to occupy the family home.

8 It is also possible child custody, or may order the parties to participate in mediation with a mediator to try to divorce : Things TO Consider /2. resolve the custody/visitation issue(s). In nearly emotional contact with both parents unless every case, the parties will have to pay the costs of circumstances, such as harm to the child(ren), the home study, child custody evaluation, and dictate otherwise. Therefore, the Court will mediation. Consider joint legal custody of the child(ren) upon application of either party. In fact, if the Court The use of mediation is increasing in Iowa. In denies joint legal custody, it must state its reasons mediation, a neutral third party (not a judge) assists for doing so. Joint legal custody does not require the parties in talking, listening, and reaching a joint physical custody. Physical custody may still be settlement of some or all of the issues in their case. given to one parent, subject to visitation rights of the The mediator does not give advice or make other parent.

9 The Court will not award joint decisions. Parties are encouraged to consult an physical custody (50/50 care) if custody is in attorney so they understand the long-term legal dispute, but some judges will approve joint physical ramifications of their options. The parties make care provisions if the parents have agreed to it and decisions based on what is important and can show the Court they have shared joint physical acceptable to both of them. care of the child(ren) during their separation, and the child(ren) have not been adversely affected. Either party can request to participate in mediation at any time, or the Court can order the parties to Some of the factors the Court will look at in participate. The Court orders parties to mediation in determining the best interests of the child(ren) . divorce - and custody-related cases that ask the include: Court to make a decision. If the parties are unable to reach complete agreement in mediation, the ! whether each parent would be a suitable parties can then request the Court to make a custodian for the child(ren).

10 Decision on any unresolved issues at a hearing or ! whether the psychological and emotional trial. Parties may request an excuse, or waiver, from needs and development of the child(ren). mediation where there is a history of domestic will suffer due to lack of active contact with violence or severe abuse. and attention from both parents;. ! whether the parents can communicate with It is important to note that not all cases are each other regarding the child(ren)'s needs negotiated to settlement within 90 days. Some and each parent can support the other's cases do take longer; however, the court relationship with the child(ren);. administrators monitor cases and will automatically ! whether both parents have actively cared schedule a pretrial conference if the case has been for the child(ren) before and since the on file for l20 days. Civil time standard for separation;. processing contested dissolution cases assumes ! whether the custody arrangement is in they can be completed in eight months and accordance with the child(ren)'s interests, uncontested cases in four months.


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