Top 5 Iowa Divorce Laws

The top 5 things everyone should know about Iowa divorce laws.


If the defendant spouse is a resident of Iowa and was personally served the dissolution of marriage papers, there is no residency requirement for the spouse filing the dissolution of marriage. Otherwise, there is a one-year residency requirement. In addition, Iowa divorce law states that there is a 90-day waiting period prior to the dissolution of marriage becoming final. The dissolution of marriage may be filed in a county where either spouse resides. [Iowa Code Annotated; Title XV Chapter 598 Sections 598.2, 598.6, and 598.19].

There are mainly two reasons of divorce in Iowa that is fault and general. In order to file for divorce in Iowa, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.

Iowa is an “equitable distribution” state. The court will divide all of the spouse’s property whether it was acquired before or after the marriage, except any gifts and inheritances received prior to or during the marriage. Iowa divorce laws state that a portion of the property may be set aside in a fund for the support, maintenance, and education of any minor children. Marital fault is not a factor.

Either or both parents may be ordered to pay a reasonable and necessary amount of child support. Child support payments may be ordered to be paid directly to the court. Specific Child Sup¬port Guideline Charts are available at The court shall order a parent to provide a health benefit plan if available at a reasonable cost. The amount of child support determined by use of the Guideline Charts is presumed to be correct, but may be adjusted for fairness or special needs of the child. [Iowa Code Annotated; Title XV Chapter 598 Section 598.21].

Iowa divorce law mandates that if either spouse requests, or on the court’s own initiative, the spouses may be ordered to participate in conciliation procedures for a period of 60 days. A course on children’s needs is required for all parents when custody is at issue within 45 days of the commencement of the case. [Iowa Code Annotated; Title XV Chapter 598 Sections 598.16 and 598.19A].

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