How to Get a Divorce in Iowa for Free?

Woman holding a sticker with the inscription Free, indicating a free divorce procedure

Getting a divorce in Iowa for free is challenging, as there are costs associated with the process. However, there are certain options to reduce expenses. If both spouses agree on major issues, they can file for an uncontested divorce without hiring attorneys. The Iowa Judicial Branch provides self-help resources and forms online for couples who choose to represent themselves. Additionally, low-income individuals may qualify for fee waivers or reduced fees.

It’s obvious that a divorce can be extremely challenging and emotionally draining for all parties involved. Navigating through this complicated legal process is stressful itself; however, the need to cover the high costs of a lawyer’s assistance and other services, which often reach $10,000 and more, surely causes more anxiety.

However, the good news is that it is possible to get a marriage dissolution almost for free. In this article, you will find out about several options for getting a divorce without spending a fortune.

How to Waive Court Fees for Divorce?

Cubes with the inscription Fees indicating the amount that must be paid for divorce court services
Seeking to waive court fees in an Iowa divorce can be a prudent option for individuals facing financial constraints.

To start a divorce case, you must provide a specific set of papers to the court. When filing, you must cover the court filing fees for divorce, which are currently $265 in the state. You should pay them to the clerk before they accept your paperwork. If you cannot cover these costs, you may ask the court to postpone or waive them.

For this, you should fill out the Application and Affidavit to Defer Payment of Costs in advance and submit it with other documents. Since the waiver is only available for low-income individuals, you will need to provide details about your gross income and expenses to prove that you have financial hardships. Your income should not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level.

The court will review the application, and your fees may be deferred, meaning you will need to pay them later. Also, the divorce court fees for low income can be waived, and you won’t have to pay anything. Finally, the judge may deny your request and order you to cover the fees no later than the date stated by the court.

How to Get a Divorce with No Money?

Many spouses who plan to obtain a marriage dissolution are often concerned by the question, “Can divorce be free?” In fact, it is possible to get a really low-cost divorce, given it is uncontested. However, a cheap divorce is not always a viable option for couples, especially those who cannot agree on major divorce terms.

If you want to file a divorce for free or at an affordable price, get acquainted with the available options for reducing the expenses.

1. Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Iowa

A woman files for divorce on her own and fills out the paperwork
Completing a DIY divorce in Iowa can be challenging, as it involves understanding and correctly navigating legal procedures.

A DIY uncontested divorce is the cheapest solution for couples on a budget. It means that you go through all the stages of the divorce process without any help. To file for divorce in Iowa on your own, you need to take the following steps:

  • Collect all the needed divorce-related information. It is reasonable to visit the official governmental websites where you can get informed on your subsequent actions. You should also find the address of the court where you need to file.
  • Find and fill out free Iowa divorce forms. You must search for the updated forms required for your case and prepare them very attentively. This step presupposes conducting thorough research.
  • File the papers with the local court. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you can get your divorce completely free of charge.
  • Serve your spouse. There are several ways of serving in the state, so you need to choose the most suitable one.
  • Attend the final hearing. In Iowa, you must be present in the court, so make sure you know how to represent yourself.

In general, even though a divorce on your own is a cost-effective way to end a marriage, it is definitely not the fastest and easiest one. Before getting involved in this kind of marriage dissolution, make sure you have enough time at your disposal.

2. Online Divorce in Iowa

If you want to obtain a fast and cheap divorce in Iowa, a marriage termination with the help of online services is a perfect option for you.

Many companies provide spouses with a set of court-approved documents filled out for each case individually at a flat fee. Usually, the price these companies charge for document preparation is less than one hour of work with a lawyer.

To use such service, you should fill out a questionnaire where you provide all the details about your marriage, spouse, kids, property you want to divide, and so on. After that, you should wait until the paperwork is ready and download it. Some companies also provide a filing guide free of charge. With the ready-to-use documents, you can file with the local court or check if it is possible to apply for a divorce online, though this option may not be available in the state.

3. Free Legal Aid Services in Iowa

Woman provides free legal assistance to woman who wants to file for divorce
To access free legal aid for divorce in Iowa, individuals can inquire with local legal aid organizations or pro bono services.

If you cannot afford to work with a lawyer or online divorce service, you can take advantage of free legal help for divorce in Iowa. You may get assistance with some of your questions without paying anything.

You can contact such legal help services by phone from Monday to Friday to see if you can get a consultation or apply online. Some specifics of their work are:

  • It usually takes several days for a legal aid organization to process the application due to their workload.
  • Before addressing legal aid services for divorce, check if you qualify for this kind of help. They usually assist low-income citizens with a gross income 125% below the poverty level.
  • Even if you qualify, it is possible you may not get assistance since the organizational staff is quite limited and cannot take every case.
  • Addressing such a service is not a 100% guarantee that your case can be finalized successfully without the involvement of a lawyer.

Alternatively, you can search for useful information about the divorce process on the Iowa Legal Aid website.

When Can You File for a Divorce Without a Lawyer?

Filing for divorce without a lawyer is possible if you are in full agreement with your spouse. It means that you do not have any disputes concerning such matters as custody over your children, child support calculations, property and assets division, alimony, etc.

If you are ready to work towards obtaining a divorce amicably and create a settlement agreement without any third parties involved, a divorce without an attorney is a viable option. On the contrary, if you have some issues with your spouse and cannot solve them out of court, you will need to hire an attorney to defend your interests during a trial.

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