In your divorce, the court gives you primary child custody rights, but not without making some rules for your ex. The child will live with you; you and your ex have to work together to make decisions about the child's future. In addition, your ex gets visitation rights to see the child for two days per week.
If you're involved in a contentious divorce, your spouse may attempt to hide assets from you. This is often illegal and definitely morally questionable, but people do it because they want to get as much as they can out of the relationship -- or because they want to keep their spouse from getting something. Either way, it may violate your rights.
In some cases, parents have the ability to terminate their parental rights. This is a huge step to take, and it's never something that should be done without careful thought and consideration. It means that the parent is legally cut off from the child and has no more ability to make decisions on their behalf. From a legal standpoint, the two are no longer related.
You have had some time to wrap your head around the idea that your marriage is ending. You saw it coming. When your spouse finally filed for divorce, it didn't surprise you. If anything, you thought that it wouldn't take as long as it did.
The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of the divorce process in Iowa. Of course, if you ever have any questions about divorce, child custody and support, or other family law issues, please call Carr & Wright and ask to speak to one of our attorneys. Divorce (or "dissolution of marriage") is a very serious matter with long reaching legal implications. That is why we recommend speaking to an experienced family law attorney, such as one of the fine attorneys in our office.
The first step is the actual filing for divorce, and the person filing the petition for divorce will forever be referred to as the "Petitioner". His/her spouse will become the "Respondent." Getting the petition right is crucial, because in the Petition you ask the court to grant you certain things in the divorce - such as custody, child support, property division, and alimony, as well as asking the other party to share in the court costs and attorney fees. You must also show that the Court has jurisdiction to decide those matters. This can be a complicated matter, especially if children are involved, so it is important to bring a lot of information with you when you first meet with your attorney.
One big complaint we often hear is that it takes a long time to finalize a divorce, especially when child custody is being determined. This is true, but one way to get a temporary order is to ask the Court for a hearing on temporary matters. Through this process, you are able to get a court hearing on matters such as custody, support, alimony, etc. much earlier than waiting to settle your divorce or going to trial.
Assuming the Respondent has filed his/her Answer, the case proceeds to sharing information and discovery. Now, the Court requires the parties to exchange some information without Discovery, such as financial information and affidavits, but in most cases, Discovery is essential.