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Iowa Family Law FAQs 

Rieper Law P.C. Dec. 6, 2022

If you’re going through any sort of familial change, you’re bound to have questions. One of the best ways to get answers is by consulting an experienced family law attorney

At Rieper Law P.C., I’ve been providing Iowa families with confident and compassionate legal guidance since 2011. Contact my office in Des Moines, Iowa, today to schedule a free consultation. I proudly serve clients throughout Polk County, as well as those located in Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, Jasper County, and Story County. 

I'm prepared to help you understand your options when it comes to divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreements, and more. Read below for answers to some of the most common questions surrounding family law. 

How long does it take to get divorced in Iowa? 

The exact timeline of a divorce cannot be guaranteed as disagreements and other issues that may arise between spouses can delay its finalization. However, in the state of Iowa, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period that begins once a person serves their spouse divorce papers, or the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Once this “cooling-off period” is over and both spouses still agree on all matters relating to their divorce, the court will likely issue a final Decree of Dissolution. 

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce? 

When a couple gets divorced, their marriage legally ends. In a legal separation, however, the marriage remains intact. Many couples choose to file for legal separation when they are unsure of the future of their marriage, but they still want to have clear expectations set for things like finances and child responsibilities. A legal separation agreement must be approved by the courts, and it can address matters similar to those involved in a divorce agreement, including child custody and visitation rights, child support, living arrangements, and property division. 

Will I be awarded alimony in my divorce? 

Before awarding alimony, also known as spousal support, Iowa courts must first decide whether the spouse requesting alimony has a financial need for it and whether the other spouse can afford to make payments. If your case meets these requirements, the court will then look at a variety of factors to determine the amount of alimony you’ll be awarded and the duration of payments. Some things the court may consider when awarding alimony include the length of your marriage, how property is being distributed in your divorce, and your earning potential. 

When is mediation a good option? 

If you’re dealing with an issue of family law, mediation is a great way to address it. It can be used to resolve a wide variety of topics and is commonly used in matters relating to divorce, including property division, child custody, and child support. Family mediation is also done privately, meaning the details of your sessions and your results will be kept off public records. Mediation also tends to be less expensive than litigation as it eliminates the need for each spouse to hire their own attorney and the need to pay court fees. 

What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement? 

Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the extremely wealthy. They’re beneficial for any couple looking to be proactive in the event that they get divorced. A prenuptial agreement (often shortened to “prenup”) can help you and your soon-to-be spouse minimize the impact and expenses of a potential divorce. Many people choose to sign prenups when they have personal property or family heirlooms they wish to protect. These documents are also great for business owners, as losing part of a business in a divorce can have devastating consequences. Many times, couples find that creating a prenuptial agreement allows them to have open and honest discussions about their future, and therefore, helps them establish clear communication practices going into their marriage. 

Schedule Your Free Consultation 

If you have questions about your specific family law case, reach out to me at Rieper Law P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa, to set up a free consultation. I work with clients across Polk County, and the surrounding areas of Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, Jasper County, and Story County.