Mason City Divorce Attorney

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Mason City Divorce Lawyers

Many people get divorced every year, but unfortunately, this doesn’t make it easier to navigate. It’s no secret that divorce can be complicated and messy, which is why it’s important to navigate the situation with caution when filing. Whether you’re attempting to obtain custody of children, protect financial assets, secure property, or need any kind of legal support during this stressful event, it’s crucial to find the right Mason City divorce attorney for you.

Best Mason City Divorce Attorney

Why Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Most attorneys will tell you that filing for divorce on your own is very difficult and should not be attempted. This is because of a number of factors, including:

  • The extensive amount of legal paperwork needed
  • The need for unbiased, impartial legal counsel
  • Knowing your rights
  • The need for excellent representation in court, especially when any dispute is involved

In addition, your spouse will likely have their own representation, and it would be immensely difficult to argue against them as a layperson. Without hiring a lawyer, you risk an unjust divorce agreement that caters to your spouse’s desires more so than your own.

What Is the Divorce Process in Mason City?

Filing for divorce in Mason City takes a few steps, and these can differ depending on several factors, including:

  • The grounds for divorce
  • The county where the case is filed
  • The type and amount of assets
  • The mutuality of the divorce

However, it is important to note that Iowa is a “no-fault” state, which means that neither you nor your spouse have to prove that your marriage has failed irreparably so long as one of you says it has. To file for divorce in Iowa, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least one full year, except in extreme cases, such as domestic abuse. Additionally, you must:

Contact a Lawyer

The first thing you’ll want to do to start the divorce process is to contact a trusted lawyer whose skills fit your needs. Many of them focus on slightly different legal areas, so it’s important to pick the right one for you. During your initial consultation with a potential attorney, you will discuss the context of the divorce and provide information about yourself and your spouse. Then, you will fill out a series of legal documents, including a “Petition to Divorce.”

Present the Court With a Petition to Divorce

After meeting with a trusted lawyer and filling out a petition to divorce, you will present the petition to your county’s court. In court, you can explain the situation and provide information about your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. Your petition should explain the terms of divorce that you desire. After this, you will file a copy of the petition with the court.

Serve Your Spouse the Divorce Papers

When you file your petition to divorce, you must have your spouse “served” with said petition as well as the other paperwork that you filled out with your attorney. To serve your spouse, a representative must present them with the documents informing them of the divorce.

Typically, this paperwork includes the terms of and grounds for the divorce, and your spouse must be served these papers before any other proceedings take place. This allows your spouse to review the terms and grounds of the divorce as well as contact an attorney.

Mediation and Court

Following your spouse being served with the petition for divorce, one of two events can occur. The first is that your spouse, typically with the assistance of a divorce lawyer of their own, will work with you and your lawyer to seek out a third party (a mediator) to help come to an agreement outside of court. This process usually involves a mutual divorce agreement as well as an understanding of how to separate assets.

The other possibility is that there are disagreements that cannot be resolved through mediation or one party does not want to divorce. If this occurs, the matter must be taken to court, where you, your spouse, and each of your respective divorce lawyers can make cases as to how assets should be divided. This is known as a contested divorce.

Finalize the Divorce

If mediation is successful, after a period of a minimum of 90 days (barring extreme conditions), the court can deem you officially divorced, and the paperwork is finalized.

If the divorce needs to be taken to court, however, this period may take longer. After hearing each party’s cases in a number of court hearings, the court will determine how to adequately separate assets as well as grant custody if applicable. Next, the paperwork is finalized, and you can officially be considered divorced.

In the state of Iowa, no matter how the divorce proceedings go, the court must officially approve the divorce for it to be legal. You are not officially divorced until a judge signs a “decree of dissolution of marriage.”

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Iowa?

Iowa state law requires a minimum of 90 days before a divorce can be finalized, but it is rare for a divorce to take that amount of time. While all divorces in the state of Iowa can be observed as “no-fault,” there are still three different types of divorces. How long your divorce takes is dependent on its type. The three kinds of divorce are:

Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce is when both spouses already have agreements made or are both willing and eager to participate in the process with minimal disagreements. If you are seeking a quick divorce, this is the fastest possible route.

Contested Divorces

A contested divorce occurs when both spouses can’t agree on how to divide assets and/or child custody. It’s typical that in a contested divorce, neither party will agree to a settlement through mediation, and the claim goes to trial. This is the most common type of divorce, and it can take upwards of a few months to be finalized.

Default Divorces

A default divorce is less common than uncontested and contested divorces, and it occurs when one spouse fails to respond to the petition to divorce within 30 days. Usually, the spouse who filed for divorce will have already written a divorce agreement with the help of an experienced attorney that can be finalized without the other party.

In the event of a default divorce in Iowa, if you were the one who initiated the divorce process, you must still attend the hearing even if your spouse is not there. If they are not at the hearing, they relinquish any and all ability to influence the final judgment of the divorce. Therefore, you can decide all the terms of the divorce agreement so long as the court approves them.


Q: Who Pays for the Family Law Divorce Lawyer in Iowa?

A: The person paying for the divorce lawyer can vary, depending on the situation. For instance, in most mutual divorces, both parties pay for their respective family lawyers. However, there are instances when a court can order the party with greater financial assets to cover the legal fees for themselves and their former spouse.

Q: How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost in Iowa?

A: A contested divorce in Iowa can range in price, depending on whether children are involved, how much time is spent on the trial, lawyer fees, etc. There is an initial fee of about $185 to officially file for divorce, and most contested divorces will cost anywhere from $10,000 to tens of thousands of dollars. This is why it’s always important to choose the right lawyer for you so that you can receive the highest amount of assets possible in your divorce.

Q: How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

A: In a divorce, assets are divided according to the terms of the divorce and/or court proceedings. During mediation, both parties usually come to an agreement as to how their assets will be divided, often with some amount of compromise being reached.

If court proceedings are required, the court decides how assets are split, typically basing its decision on how well the individual cases are made and proven assets and income, among other factors. Iowa is not a community property state, so courts attempt to divide assets equitably.

Q: How Long Does a Divorce Take in Iowa?

A: A divorce in Iowa takes a minimum of 90 days, with the exception of extreme cases. However, it rarely takes less than 90 days to finalize a divorce, as many divorces are contested in some way, often requiring some sort of trial to reach a fair settlement. To reach a settlement more quickly, it’s highly advised to reach a fair agreement in pre-trial discussion.

Contact McGuire Law, PLC, Today

With over 40 years of experience, McGuire Law, PLC, has a thorough record of success. During your initial consultation, discuss your needs with us so that we can support you during this difficult time. We can fight for the optimal outcome for you in your divorce.

Contact us for help with your divorce proceedings today.

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