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Iowa Divorce Laws


Iowa Divorce Laws-Iowa State Divorce Laws


The person petitioning for divorce must be a resident of the state for at least a year. A divorce may be filed in the county where either party resides. No decree dissolving a marriage shall be granted before ninety days shall have elapsed from the day the original notice is served, or from the last day of publication of notice, or from the date that waiver or acceptance of original notice is filed or until after conciliation is completed, whichever period shall be longer. [Based on Iowa Code: Sections 598.2, 598.6 and 598.19]


No Fault. A decree dissolving the marriage may be entered when the court is satisfied from the evidence presented that there has been 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. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.17]


The district court in which either party resides. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.2]


A petition shall be filed in separate maintenance and annulment actions as in actions for dissolution of marriage, and all applicable provisions of dissolution of marriage shall apply to separate maintenance and annulment actions. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.28]


At any time upon its own motion or upon the application of a party the court may require the parties to participate in conciliation efforts for sixty days or less following the issuance of such an order. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.16]


The district court may, on its own motion or on the motion of any party, order the parties to participate in mediation in any dissolution of marriage action or other domestic relations action. In any action which involves the issues of child custody or visitation, the parties are ordered to participate in a court-approved parenting course within forty-five days of the service of notice and petition for the action. Participation may be waived or delayed by the court for good cause including, but not limited to, a default by any of the parties or a showing that the parties have previously participated in a court-approved course or its equivalent. Participation is not required if the proceeding involves termination of parental rights of any of the parties. A final decree shall not be granted or a final order shall not be entered until the parties have complied with this section, unless participation in the course is waived or delayed for good cause or is otherwise not required under this subsection. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.19A and 598.7A]


Iowa is an equitable distribution state. The court shall divide all property, except inherited property or gifts received by one party, equitably between the parties after considering all of the following:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The property brought to the marriage by each party.
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, giving appropriate economic value to each party's contribution in homemaking and child care services.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
  • The earning capacity of each party.
  • The desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live in the family home for a reasonable period to the party having custody of the children, or if the parties have joint legal custody, to the party having physical care of the children.
  • Other economic circumstances of each party, including pension benefits, vested or unvested, and future interests.
  • The tax consequences to each party.
  • Any written agreement made by the parties concerning property distribution.
  • The provisions of an antenuptial agreement.
  • Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case.

Property inherited by either party or gifts received by either party prior to or during the course of the marriage is the property of that party and is not subject to a property division, except upon a finding that refusal to divide the property is inequitable to the other party or to the children of the marriage. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.21]


The court may grant an order requiring support payments to either party for a limited or indefinite length of time after considering all of the following:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The distribution of property.
  • The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.
  • The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, responsibilities for children under either an award of custody or physical care, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment.
  • The feasibility of the party seeking maintenance becoming self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and the length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
  • The tax consequences to each party.
  • Any mutual agreement made by the parties concerning financial or service contributions by one party with the expectation of future reciprocation or compensation by the other party.
  • The provisions of an antenuptial agreement.
  • Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case.

[Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.21]


Either party to a marriage may request as a part of the decree of dissolution or decree of annulment a change in the person's name to either the name appearing on the person's birth certificate or to the name the person had immediately prior to the marriage. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.37]

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