QUESTION:  What should I do if I am thinking about filing for divorce?

ANSWER:  We would strongly encourage you to set-up an initial appointment with one of our attorneys.  At this initial meeting, we will review your family's unique situation, and briefly discuss divorce procedure, and legal fees and costs.  At this meeting, we will determine if our representation is right for you.

If you have been served with divorce papers, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney right away to discuss deadlines and your options going forward in your case.  You will have 20 days from the date of service in which to file your Answer, so you should consult with an attorney right away.

QUESTION:  What is the 90-day waiting period I read about?

ANSWER:  Once you file for divorce, and the initial papers are served to the opposing party, a 90-day waiting period begins.  In Iowa, parties are not allowed to finalize their divorce until the 90 days has elapsed.

During the 90-day waiting period, the parties and their attorneys will work to reach a settlement, so that a trial will not be necessary.  If the parties are able to compromise and settle their case, they can avoid going to court at all for their divorce.

QUESTION:  What are the issues when children are involved?

ANSWER:  If children are involved, great attention should be paid to the children's best interests during this difficult time.  The parties are required to attend a Children in the Middle class, to reinforce that children are not to be used as pawns in this dispute, and that parental alienation behavior is never acceptable.

Detailed physical care and visitation plans should be worked out to avoid conflicts in the future, as the parties go forward as co-parents.

QUESTION:  Is Mediation required for a divorce?

ANSWER:  Mediation is required when there are children involved, and in other cases depending on the county your case is filed in.  However, if you reach a settlement agreement prior to mediation, then it can be cancelled and you will not have spend your time and money on mediation.

QUESTION:  How can I go about changing the current custody or visitation arrangement I have with the other parent?

ANSWER:  This is called a modification case.  It is preferable if the two parties can agree on the changes.  An attorney could then be hired to memorialize the agreement in writing and have it filed with the Court.  If the  parties cannot agree, a modification action can be filed in court, but only so long as there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” and the best interests of the child warrants a change in the current custody or visitation arrangement.

QUESTION:  What if I need to change the amount of child support I currently pay/receive?

ANSWER:  This is also called a modification case.  You may contact the Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) at the Department of Human Services to see if they are able to assist you in modifying the amount administratively.  If CSRU is unable to help, you should consult with a qualified attorney to see if the child support can be modified by filing a modification lawsuit.