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Iowa Divorce Laws

Most of the time, we think about the romantic aspects of marriage, and not the legal necessities of getting married. By the same token, if a marriage is ending, we may not be considering the legal requirements that married couples must meet in order to get a divorce. In some cases, there are even more legal hurdles to ending a marriage as there are to starting one. This is an introduction to the legal requirements for divorce in Iowa.

Iowa Divorce Laws: The Basics

Not all of the state laws governing the divorce process are the same nationwide. For instance, under Iowa law one of the spouses must have been a Hawkeye State resident for at least on year in order to file for divorce in the state. Iowa also has a 90-day waiting period before a divorce becomes final, though this time may be reduced in cases of emergency. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's divorce laws.

Code Section

Iowa Code 598, et seq.: Dissolution of Marriage

Residency Requirements

Unless respondent is a resident and given personal service, petitioner must have been resident for last year.

Waiting Period

90 days after service of original notice (time may be shortened by court in emergency).

"No Fault&" Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown.

Defenses to a Divorce Filing


Other Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown.

No Fault Divorce Laws

Iowa is one of many jurisdictions that offer what has come to be known as a "no fault" divorce. Under a no fault divorce, you don't have to accuse your spouse or prove any specific wrongdoing on his or her part in order to get a divorce. Instead, you only have to demonstrate "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 also offers alternatives to the traditional divorce process, known as an annulment and legal separation. These only apply in certain circumstances, and may have separate requirements. If you and your spouse have any shared minor children, Iowa child custody laws will apply to your case, as well as state statutes regarding child support guidelines and child support enforcement.

Iowa Divorce Laws: Related Resources

A divorce can be a emotionally tumultuous and legally complex as well. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on divorce.

Getting Divorced in Iowa? You'll Probably Want Legal Help

Getting divorced is never a fun experience and can be downright stressful for everyone involved. It's usually best to let an attorney handle the legal intricacies of your case. An experienced attorney will look out for your best interests and stay on top of the legal filings and other processes. Get a head start today and find an experienced Iowa divorce attorney near you.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

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