How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Iowa?

Word image Cost that may be paid to obtain a divorce

According to MoneyWise the cost of a divorce in Iowa for an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on major issues, typically ranges from $1,500 to $3,000. However, if the divorce is contested and requires litigation, the expenses can escalate significantly to anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 or more. These costs include attorney fees, court filing fees, and other related expenses.

Calculating the exact divorce price in advance is hardly possible, but you can determine approximate expenses in your particular case by considering the data presented below.

The Average Cost of Divorce in Iowa

Divorce in Iowa costs from around $500 to $10,000+ depending on the specifics of the case. Typically, uncontested divorces are more budget-friendly than contested proceedings and can result in expenses of less than $1,000 if spouses are cooperative, do not have disputes, and manage paperwork themselves. Frequently, a filing fee, which is currently $265, is the biggest part of an uncontested divorce cost.

Contested cases, especially with many unresolved disputes, can deplete spouses’ finances. Therefore, many couples seek professional assistance from lawyers or mediators to agree on the divorce terms out of court and eventually apply for an uncontested marriage dissolution.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

Spouses agree on an uncontested divorce
Achieving an uncontested divorce in Iowa can be less challenging when both parties are in agreement on key issues.

The average cost of an uncontested divorce in Iowa can be as low as several hundred dollars in filing fees. In an uncontested divorce, spouses have reached an agreement on all major issues like property and asset division, child custody and support, and alimony before filing with the court. Therefore, they may proceed without hiring an attorney and reduce their divorce expenses to an obligatory minimum, covering a filing fee and document serving costs only.

Sometimes, spouses can reduce the cost of no-fault divorce in IA if it is uncontested even more with a waiver of service. By signing it, a defendant shows willingness to accept the divorce documents voluntarily, so a petitioner doesn’t need to hire a process server or sheriff to serve the papers.

How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost?

A contested divorce in Iowa costs from $5,000 to $15,000 and more. Since spouses can’t reach a compromise on the divorce terms, each party usually hires an attorney who will:

  • provide legal advice,
  • conduct legal research,
  • represent clients in court,
  • participate in negotiations,
  • and generally help them navigate the divorce process.

In highly contested divorce cases, partners usually opt for full-scope attorney assistance, and lawyer fees will be a major part of their divorce expenses. Besides, a divorcing couple may need to address other experts such as forensic accountants, appraisers, tax advisors, business valuators, private investigators, and more. Paying for these services will add up to the overall divorce price.

A divorce cost in Iowa with a child will likely be higher as spouses will need to attend a paid parenting class. The cost is $60 per person. Moreover, they will have to hire custody evaluators and, sometimes, child psychologists.

Considering how expensive a contested divorce can be, it is no wonder that spouses look for possible ways to reduce its cost. The most popular option is to contact mediators and arbitrators to reach an agreement. While such experts usually offer paid help, the price is still lower than attorney fees. So, by attending consultations, it is possible to turn a contested divorce into an uncontested one, saving money.

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Iowa

The lawyer sits at the table and next to him lies the money that was paid to him for his divorce services.
The high cost of lawyers for divorce in Iowa is attributed to factors such as the complexity of legal procedures, the time-intensive nature of divorce cases, expertise required.

The average cost of a divorce lawyer in Iowa is $200-$400 per hour. The prices differ because of the following factors:

  • Complexity of a case. Complex marriage dissolutions with disputes on asset division, child custody, or spousal support require more attorney hours, resulting in higher costs.
  • Lawyer’s expertise and reputation. Seasoned and respectable attorneys usually charge high fees.
  • Geographic location. Experts in larger cities and urban areas may have higher fees than their colleagues in smaller towns or rural areas.
  • Lawyer’s involvement. If a divorcing couple needs legal advice only, they will pay less than spouses interested in full-scope representation.

Keep in mind that law firms may adhere to different pricing models. The most frequent options are:

  • Hourly rates. Lawyers charge for their services based on the time they spend working on a case. The more hours they work, the higher the fee gets.
  • Flat fees. An attorney charges a fixed, upfront amount for a specific legal service, regardless of the time it takes or the complexity of the work. Flat fees are often set for legal services like drafting a divorce agreement, handling an uncontested divorce, or representing a client at a particular stage of the divorce process.
  • Retainers. A retainer is like a deposit you give to a lawyer in advance. You pay them an amount of money upfront, and an attorney uses it as they work on your case. When the retainer runs out, you may need to add more money.
  • Hybrid pricing model. Some lawyers may use a combination of fee structures. For example, they may charge a flat fee for certain services and an hourly rate for others.

How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce in Iowa

The cost to file divorce papers ranges from $200 to $300 across the state, but the average fee is $265. You can file your document in person by attending a local court or use an eFiling system.

In some cases, a petitioner can ask the court to waive a filing fee for divorce due to financial inability to cover it. A petitioner must fill out the Application and Affidavit to Defer Payment of Costs and provide solid proof of financial hardships.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Divorce in Iowa?

Image of the rising cost of divorce services
The cost of divorce in Iowa can be influenced by various factors, including the complexity of legal issues, level of contention, the need for expert consultations.

When filing for divorce in Iowa, consider the following factors that influence a divorce cost to potentially minimize your expenses:

  • Type of divorce. An uncontested divorce, when spouses agree on all major issues, is usually cheaper than a contested one with disputes.
  • Legal representation. If you hire an attorney, be ready to spend a significant amount of money on their services.
  • Involvement of kids. Divorcing couples with minor children usually spend more as they need to attend parenting classes and hire experts to decide on child support and custody matters.
  • Paperwork. Preparing documents on your own is a way to reduce your divorce expenses, but it comes with some risks. If you make even the smallest mistakes, you’ll need to redo paperwork from scratch since the court will not accept the papers. To save time and effort, you may address an online divorce service and order the forms needed for your uncontested case there. It is more cost-efficient than hiring an attorney and much easier than doing everything yourself.