Iowa Divorce Law

Complete Overview of of the Iowa Divorce Laws

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Important Iowa Divorce Guidelines to File for a Divorce

Iowa Residency Requirements For Divorce

The divorce petitioner must have been an Iowa resident for one year, unless the respondent is an Iowa resident. After the Iowa divorce papers are filed, there is a 90 day waiting period before the divorce is granted.

Grounds For Divorce In Iowa

There is only one grounds for divorce in Iowa:

  • irretrievable breakdown of the marriage without the likelihood of reconciliation.
Iowa Child Custody

In Iowa, divorcing parents may agree to joint or sole legal and physical custody of their children. Sole legal custody gives one parent the right to make all decisions involving the children. Joint legal custody reserves both parents’ rights to make all decisions involving the children. Physical custody decides which parent the children will live with, and can also be awarded jointly. In a contested divorce, the courts will decide upon child custody with the best interests of the child in mind.

Iowa divorce courts will consider components including, but not limited to:

  • suitability of each parent as a custodian;
  • whether the child will suffer from lack of contact with and attention from both parents;
  • parent’s communications skills with each other regarding the child;
  • child’s wishes;
  • agreement of the parents;
  • geographic proximity of the parents.
Iowa Child Support Guidelines

Unless special circumstances are present, the courts calculate child support based on the official child support guidelines. Child support will continue until the child reaches adulthood, and may be extended through his or her secondary education.


Iowa divorce forms may be filed in the county either spouse resides.


The court may order the spouses to participate in mediation at any time prior to the divorce finalization.