A: Normally your initial consultation is simply a session in which we get to know each other and you get to ask some basic questions. You generally will not need to bring anything with you. However, if you have been served with legal papers or if you have received a citation, it is very useful to bring that documentation with you. If you are seeking a modification, it is useful to bring the Court order with you that you are seeking to modify.
A: We accept cash, checks, cashier’s checks and Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. Please note that we do have to wait 5 business days for your check to clear before we can pay any filing fees on your behalf.
A: That depends on your situation. If you and your spouse have reached an amicable agreement on ALL the issues (meaning that you have come to an agreement on child custody, child support and how to divide your assets and debts) the process can take 90 days or even less if you have been separated for a while. If your case is bound for a trial, you should plan on 6 to 9 months at least.
A: That also depends on whether you have reached an amicable agreement with your spouse or whether your divorce is going to be highly contentious. We have varying retainer fees depending on what your needs are. The filing fee for a divorce is $185.00. To enter the final decree is another $50 filing fee. If you have children, you have to take a class called Children in the Middle. The fee for this class is $50. There is a link on the Resources page that will give you more information on this class. In addition, if your case involves minor children and you have not reached an amicable agreement with your spouse, you must partake in mediation, which costs between $200 and $250.
A: Iowa has a mandatory 1 year residency requirement.
A: There is a 90 day waiting period in Iowa. This can sometimes be waived, however the Court has discretion whether to waive it or not.
A: You can get married the next day if the state in which you get married does not have a waiting period. Iowa has a 3-day waiting period to obtain your marriage license.
A: Yes, if you have children under the age of 18 that are a part of your divorce, you have to take a class called Children in the Middle. I have provided a link to more information on that class under the Resources tab.
A: You have the right to file a custody action and ask for custodial rights of your child. The mother is presumed to be the sole custodial parent until you do so.
A: Custody really pertains to legal custody. In Iowa joint legal custody is presumed. Joint legal custody simply means that both parents have equal access to school and medical records and both parents should be involved in decision-making when it comes to the children. Physical care means where the child is going to be living the majority of the time. Iowa does recognize shared physical care which means the child spends roughly an equal amount of time with each parent.
A: That depends on a lot of variables. I have provided a link to the Child Support Estimator that may give you a rough idea, but bear in mind that it is an estimator only.
A: No. Child support and visitation do not go hand in hand. You will need to file a court action to get custodial and/or visitation rights.
A: Not unless your daughter or son is deceased and even then it is very difficult to get legal rights as a grandparent. You have to show an unfitness on the part of the other parent.
A: It doesn’t matter whether you are married or not, everyone should have a will.
A: It doesn’t matter whether you are married or not, everyone should designate a power of attorney.

Even if you are married, it is still advisable to have an up-to-date power of attorney. While your spouse can certainly make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated, what if your spouse becomes incapacitated at the same time or shortly after you? Since you are married couple, you probably often find yourself in the same vehicle as your spouse or crossing the same intersection. You could end up in an accident together. Who would you want to make those medical decisions for you if your spouse can’t?
Also a power of attorney does not only apply to health care decisions. There is also an Iowa Statutory Power of Attorney that can designate someone to make decisions regarding your finances. Even if you are married, your spouse can not just automatically do that. Sure, if you have joint accounts with your spouse, your spouse can act on your behalf, however what about that account that is solely in your name? Your retirement? Your social security? A CD you may have? Your spouse would have no say over those accounts.
So while you may designate your spouse as your primary power of attorney both for health care decisions and the Iowa Statutory Power of Attorney, you should definitely designate a back-up as well, just in case your spouse can’t do it.

A: Yes. While under Iowa law should you die without a will (intestate) and you are married your assets would go to your spouse, what about a scenario where your spouse dies at the same time? Or a scenario where your spouse dies a few days after you? A lot of people put a requirement in their will that their beneficiary has to survive them by more than 30 days. If your spouse does not survive you, who do you want your assets to go to? A will can make that provision. Also, if you have young children and you and your spouse die simultaneously, who do you want to have take care of your children? You can designate this in your will.