Lawyer Scales Justice - Law Concepts on Family Law

Dispelling Misconceptions About
Divorce & Family Law

Rieper Law P.C. June 30, 2022

Legal matters involving family and domestic relationships are highly sensitive and must be properly managed. Any decision you make can have a significant effect on various aspects of your life, including your assets, finances, children, and future relationships. With lots of misleading information about the Iowa divorce process out there, getting experienced guidance is important to avoid making irreversible mistakes. A knowledgeable Iowa family law attorney can help clear up the misconceptions and help you navigate crucial decisions in your divorce and family law matters.

At Rieper Law P.C., I'm dedicated to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and brilliant advocacy to clients in family law and divorce-related matters. I'm available to discuss your personal situation and help you understand the various legal options available to you. Also, I can enlighten you about the Iowa divorce process and walk you through every legal phase from start to finish. My firm is proud to serve clients across Des Moines, Dallas County, Polk County, Madison County, Warren County, Story County, and Jasper County, Iowa.

Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law in Iowa

Unfortunately, there are numerous collective popular notions and false assumptions surrounding the divorce process and other family law matters. Due to this, Iowa family law attorneys have to take their time to properly educate their clients about the entire divorce proceedings, as well as what to expect during and after the divorce. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about divorce and family law in Iowa and a brief explanation of why they're not true:

Misconception #1: If the Other Parent Doesn't Pay Child Support, I Can Withhold Visitation

This is a common misconception. In a divorce decree, a child support agreement is different from a parenting time or visitation schedule. If the non-custodial parent fails to fulfill their child support obligations, the custodial parent may not block or withhold visitation. Rather, you can petition a contempt action requesting the Iowa court to enforce the existing child support order and punish the non-compliant parent fittingly.

Misconception #2: It's Possible for One of the Spouses to Deny the Divorce

Iowa is a "no-fault" divorce state. The party requesting for divorce can only state that "there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship with no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved." Under Iowa law, the other party may not deny the divorce even if they disagree. Hence, you can get a divorce in Iowa without your estranged spouse's approval, consent, or signature.

Misconception #3: Mom is Awarded Primary Custody of the Children Every Time

Trends in child custody awards over the years conclude that mothers are often awarded primary custody of their children. However, things are now different. During the divorce proceeding, Iowa courts believe that the involvement of both parents is vital for the child's well-being, growth, and development. Therefore, the court may be in favor of joint custody and equal parenting time provided that it is in the best interests of the child.

Misconception #4: You Have to Get Divorced in the State You Got Married in

This is another common misconception. It is not compulsory that you get divorced in the state where you got married. To file for divorce in Iowa, the requesting spouse must be a resident of Iowa for at least one year prior to filing.

Misconception #5: Alimony is a Part of any Divorce

This is wrong. Alimony isn't awarded in every divorce case. In Iowa, the court will only award alimony if it believes that the requesting spouse needs financial assistance and the other spouse has the ability and resources to pay.

Misconception #6: Our Assets Will All Be Split 50/50

This is a common misconception. Iowa is an "equitable property distribution" state. Under state laws, the court will divide marital property – assets and debts accumulated during the couple's marriage – in an "equitable and fair" manner, but not necessarily equally. To achieve equitable property distribution, the Iowa court will consider the following factors:

  • The duration or length of the marriage

  • Prenuptial agreements between the spouses

  • Each spouse's age and physical and emotional health

  • Each spouse's earning capacity

  • Whether a spouse brought the property into the marriage

  • Agreements between the spouses focusing on property division

  • Whether a spouse is receiving alimony payments

  • Tax implications of asset division

  • Either spouse's assistance with the education, training, or increased earning power of the other party

  • Each spouse's contributions to the marriage, including child care and homemaking

  • Each spouse's other economic situation, including pension benefits

  • Any other factor deemed necessary by the court to achieve equitable distribution.

An experienced divorce attorney can educate you about the marital dissolution process in Iowa and help you navigate intelligent decisions regarding your family law matters.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Filing for divorce in Iowa usually involves a lot of complex processes. The several misleading pieces of information out there even make navigating the divorce process more difficult and stressful. However, being able to differentiate facts from fiction can make your divorce feel more manageable and hassle-free. A skilled family law attorney can enlighten you about your available legal options and help navigate key decisions in your divorce.

At Rieper Law P.C., I have the diligence, experience, and resources to advise and guide individuals and families through the complexities of the divorce process. Also, I will work diligently with all parties involved in an attempt to settle matters of alimony, asset division, child support, and custody peacefully and quickly.

Every divorce case is unique. Contact my firm – Rieper Law P.C. – today to schedule a simple consultation with a trusted divorce lawyer. I have the detailed legal counsel and effective advocacy you need to navigate crucial decisions in your divorce proceeding. My firm is proud to serve clients across Des Moines, Dallas County, Polk County, Madison County, Warren County, Story County, and Jasper County, Iowa.