Most divorcing couples do not know how to go about the termination of their marital relations. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take during the divorce process and the basic requirements you must meet to get a dissolution of marriage.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Tama County
The steps you should follow to get a divorce within the state may vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances.
If the defendant is an Iowa resident and the plaintiff serves them with the necessary papers personally, there are no residency requirements for filing for divorce. In other cases, the petitioner must have lived in the state for at least 1 year before submitting the petition to the court.
Since Iowa is a no-fault divorce state, to start the process, you may cite the breakdown of your marriage without the possibility of saving it as a ground for its dissolution.
Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to get a divorce:
1. Completing a set of paperwork.
To file for divorce, you need to prepare the forms required for your case. The set of divorce papers in Tama County you may need will differ depending on whether you have minor children, disputes over the divorce terms, etc.
2. Filing the documents with the court.
You can submit forms to the court electronically or on paper. If your county has switched to e-filing, you need to register through the eFile system and upload a set of paperwork to file for divorce. If you don’t have a computer or have another valid reason for inability to create an account, you need to ask the judge’s permission to file on paper. If the judge grants your request, or if your county still uses paper filing, you need to submit a set of forms to the county clerk’s office.
3. Serving the other party.
If your spouse agrees to accept divorce papers, you can serve them personally or by mail, provided they sign the Acceptance of Service. If they do not cooperate, you should deliver papers by a sheriff, a private process server, or another person who must be at least 18 years old.
You have 90 days to serve the documents to the defendant. After the serving procedure is completed, you need to file an Affidavit or Acceptance of Service with the court. If you filed for divorce electronically and your spouse has a registered account, electronic service will be provided through the eFile system. After the defendant receives the papers, they have 20 days to file an answer or counterclaim.
4. Completing the waiting period.
In Iowa, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period before you can get a divorce decree. Its countdown starts after one of the following actions has taken place:
- the sheriff or private process server served the defendant with the necessary documents;
- the petitioner filed an Acceptance of Service with the court;
- spouses attended court-ordered counseling;
- the petitioner notified the defendant about the lawsuit by publication, provided it was done for the third time.
During the waiting period, spouses can prepare a settlement agreement, attend family counseling if the court orders it, or use mediation to resolve disagreements over the divorce terms.
5. Scheduling a court hearing.
Most often, spouses will have to attend at least one court hearing to get a divorce decree. If the case is uncontested and the judge considers the terms of the marital agreement reasonable, the court may grant a divorce at the first trial. If parties have disputes over child visitation, support, custody, and property division, they may need several hearings.
6. Finalizing the divorce.
After the judge grants you a divorce, you will need to contact the court clerk, get a Report of Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment, fill it out, and return it to the clerk’s office to finalize the process.
Typically, uncontested divorces are less complicated and extended than contested ones. To proceed without hiring a lawyer, you need to agree with your spouse on all marriage termination issues you may have.
What Tama County Divorce Forms Do I Need to File for Divorce?
The list of divorce forms in Tama County, Iowa, depends on whether minor children are involved, whether all marriage dissolution issues have been resolved, and how the defendant will be served.
If you have no children under 18 and your divorce is uncontested, your divorce kit will most likely consist of:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with no Minor or Dependent Adult Children.
- Original Notice for Personal Service.
- Protected Information Disclosure.
- Acceptance of Service.
- Financial Affidavit for Dissolution of Marriage with no Minor Children.
- Settlement Agreement for a Dissolution of Marriage with no Minor Children.
Where to File for Divorce in Tama County?
You can file for divorce online through the eFile system if e-filing is acceptable in your case. Otherwise, you should submit the required papers to the Tama County, Iowa, clerk of court closest to you if you or your spouse lives within the county.
|Tama County District Court
|100 W High St, Toledo, IA 52342
|Tama County Clerk of Court
|100 W High St, Toledo, IA 52342
Divorce Lawyers in Tama County vs Online Divorce
When filing for divorce, you can hire an attorney or act independently. Divorce lawyers’ cost is high and depends on their experience, location, and services provided. If your case is uncontested, you can prepare for it yourself and only pay the court filing fee for divorce. The current average divorce filing fee in Tama County, Iowa, is $265. To avoid searching for the necessary papers yourself, you can use the online document preparation service, which is a reliable and budget-friendly option for couples who do not have disputes regarding divorce terms.
Cindy Robinson, an esteemed figure in the realm of family law, is a beacon of knowledge and compassion in her field. The expertise of this prolific author extends beyond legal briefs. Cindy is a true romantic at heart, with a deep passion for helping others find love and build meaningful connections. Beyond the world of letters, she treasures moments spent with her own family, which serve as a constant source of inspiration for her work in family law. Cindy’s commitment to providing solutions and support makes her a trusted voice in the field.