Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
Answers from Our Mason City Divorce Attorney
As you work toward a resolution for your family law matter, we encourage
you to find answers to the questions you have. Below, our
Mason City dirovrce lawyers have answered several frequently asked questions.
What should I expect in terms of child support payments?
The amount of child support payments is determined by a calculation of
a number of factors. Some of these factors include the number of children
requiring support, the income of the non-custodial parent, the income
of the custodial parent, the cost of daycare paid by each parent, the
non-custodial parent's payments to an ex-spouse or children from a
previous marriage, and the amount of family health insurance paid by each
parent. A divorce attorney can give your more specific information about
your child support payments.
If my ex-spouse has joint custody or visitation rights, can I relocate
out of state?
In Iowa, most parents who divorce have joint legal custody, even if one
parent has sole physical custody. Although parents are allowed to relocate,
any move more than 150 miles is considered a substantial change in circumstances,
which means that the court can then change the custody agreement. Types
of changes include giving summer custody or scheduled phone calls to the
non-custodial parent who is not moving. The parent who relocates may be
responsible for expenses related to transportation to the other parent.
The spouse may also petition for a transfer of custody if it is in the
best interests of the children.
How does paternity testing work?
When individuals, either the mother, father, or child, are attempting to
establish legal paternity rights, the court will usually order a SWAB
Test or a DNA Genetic Identity test. These tests match up certain genetic
markers in the adult male's DNA with the DNA of the child in question.
If there is at least 95% similarity, the court will rule that he is the
father. There are exceptions to this; if your attorney can present evidence
of another male with a similar amount of genetic similarity, then there
will likely be more tests.
What are the grounds for divorce in Iowa?
The state of Iowa is a "no fault" divorce state. This means that
one party can seek a divorce based on irretrievable breakdown and the
spouse is not required to blame the other spouse for any misdeed or wrongdoing.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
In Iowa, state laws requires a 90 day waiting period that begins from the
date the petition is served before the court is allowed to enter any final
decree. However, under some circumstances the court may waive the 90 day
I've been served divorce papers, what should I do next?
The first thing you should do is consult with a Mason City divorce attorney
from our firm. When someone is served divorce papers, they have the right
to file a response, which is known as an "answer." Note that
there is a deadline to file an answer, which is usually 20 calendar days
from the date of service, but this could vary depending on the circumstances
of your case.
My spouse agreed to pay certain marital debts, what happens if my spouse
doesn't pay them?
Unfortunately if your spouse fails to pay certain marital debts which he
or she took responsibility for, the creditor could go after you to obtain
payment for those debts. However, if this does happen you could take your
spouse to court in an enforcement action.
I lost my job and can't afford child support, can I stop making payments?
No! Just because you lost your job it doesn't mean that you can stop
paying child support. The current child support order remains in force
unit you petition for a modification and a family court judge signs off
on your petition, thereby modifying your payments. Unless you obtain a
modification in court, your obligations remain the same and child support
is not retroactive; therefore, the sooner you petition the court for a
downward modification, the better.
I am a victim of domestic violence, will a restraining order help my child
If your spouse is arrested and convicted of domestic violence, or if you
obtain a restraining order against your spouse, it can certainly help
your child custody case. Depending on the nature and extent of the abuse,
obtaining a restraining order can strengthen your case and help protect
you and your children from future harm. Without a conviction or a restraining
order, you may have a more difficult time obtaining the child custody
arrangement you are seeking; therefore, it's important to consult
with an attorney about the best way to proceed forward during this difficult time.
If I establish paternity, will my child's father get visitation?
Once paternity is established, the legal father assumes the rights and
responsibilities of being a parent and these include the obligation to
pay child support, and the right to custody and visitation of his child.
When considering filing a paternity action, it's important to take
these factors into consideration as they may play a role in your decision
to move forward.
Contact McGuire Law, PLC for Divorce Support
Whether you need assistance with a divorce or family law issue, at McGuire
Law, PLC, we are here to offer you guidance and support during this transitional
period in your life. For decades we have been servicing the residents
of Mason City and Cedar Rapids, and we are very familiar with the local
family courts, local divorce attorneys and the local family court judges.
We believe in maintaining these relationships and fostering mutual respect
among our peers. However, protecting our clients' best interests is
our top priority at all times. Should your family law issue become complex
or difficult, we are here to guide you every step of the way and zealously
fight on your behalf. For more information on our services, please
contact a Mason City divorce lawyer from our firm today!