How do I choose an attorney?

Given how life-changing a divorce can be, it is important that you are comfortable with the attorney that you select to assist you. Interview multiple attorneys. Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you feel overly nervous or intimidated during an initial consultation, perhaps that attorney is not a good fit for you.

What other professionals might be helpful?

Meet with financial professionals to prepare for your divorce. Financial planners, real estate professionals, accountants, mortgage bankers, and other professionals can help you prepare for the economic impact of your divorce. Also, get help to take care of yourself. Divorce is stressful. Take time to attend to your own emotional well-being, and do not be afraid to reach out to a counselor if needed.

How long does a divorce take?

That depends on the two individuals involved and how many issues are contested. If there are many contested issues and unreasonable positions, your case could proceed to trial. In this situation, your divorce could take approximately one year. On the other hand, if you can agree on most things, your divorce can be done as quickly as 90 days.

Do we have to see a judge to get divorced?

If you and your ex agree on everything, it is possible to divorce without ever physically going to court.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities that a parent has toward their child. This includes decision-making on a child’s health, safety, education, and other issues. It is common for separated parents to have joint legal custody. This means both parents have a right to help make decisions. Legal custody is NOT connected to where a child physically spends time.

What is primary physical custody?

Primary physical custody refers to a schedule in which a child is with one parent a majority of the time. A primary-care parent also has tie-breaking decision-making in certain areas as long as that decision is in the child’s best interests.

What is joint physical custody?

Joint physical custody refers to a schedule in which a child spends roughly equal time with each parent.

How is child support determined?

Each state, including Iowa, has its own version of child support guidelines. These guidelines are used in determining child support.

Can I keep the house after I get divorced?

Sometimes you can. Research should be done to determine your ability to get a mortgage in your name alone. Also, to protect your ability to keep the house in the future, our financial planning and lending team can help you anticipate possible expenses that might blindside you.

Where will I live after I get divorced?

There will be options. You might be able to keep your current house. You might choose to qualify for a mortgage and buy a home. You might decide to rent. Our team will work with you to research options and costs. This information helps you make the best decision for you, your family, and your future.

What financial records do I need?

A good first step is to organize your debts and assets. Gather records such as mortgage statements, tax returns, and records relating to your investments and retirement accounts. A copy of your credit report helps make sure no debts have been missed. Contact your financial advisor to make them aware you are about to go through a divorce. Consider opening a separate bank account if you have concerns about accessing funds and being able to support yourself during the divorce.

How will assets be divided?

Marital assets and debts must be equitably divided as part of a divorce. Equitable is another word for fair. Fair varies from case to case. Every divorce is different, and you should not assume what happened to your friend or the neighbor will apply to your circumstances.

What are marital assets and debts?

Generally speaking, marital assets and debts are those that have been acquired during the marriage. How an asset is titled has nothing to do with whether it is a marital asset. For example, if a piece of real estate is purchased during the marriage and only titled in the name of one spouse, it can still be considered a marital asset. On a similar note, a credit card in only one spouse’s name doesn’t mean the debt will be considered separate and not marital.

What are separate assets and debts?

A separate asset or debt is one that was not acquired during the marriage. An example is an inheritance that was received prior to a marriage and kept in a separate non-joint bank account. Likewise, a piece of real estate that was purchased prior to the marriage could be considered separate property not subject to division. Things get complicated when these assets are accessed during the marriage and commingled with marital funds.