Legal Separation in Iowa
In Iowa, legal separation is recognized due to a few main reasons, such as health insurance. If a couple is covered under the same coverage, a divorce may leave one vulnerable. Other instances include religious beliefs that hinder some from filing for divorce even when they are in an unhappy marriage.
What is legal separation? Merely living apart does not amount to legal separation, unless you have a court order signifying such. The process involves filing an Iowa Marital Separation Agreement with the court and serving the other party.
Both spouses should agree on this route, failure to which the judge will not grant the separation. The decree will address marital property, debts and assets, child support and custody, as well as alimony in some cases – just like in a divorce. However, the couple is still legally married, and they may not remarry. They will be expected to live separate lives in different houses or apart. If a couple chooses to live apart, they can share the same roof but not a bedroom. They are not to live like a married couple.
The law in Iowa allows a separation where there is “a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” The petitioner must be a resident of the state for at least one year. If they are not, then the party being served should be, and they should be served the court order in person. Some people confuse marital separation with an annulment. The two are different in that annulment dissolves a marriage that should never have been in the first place.
Matters Involved in Legal Separation
To follow the maxim of equity, marital property is divided amongst the two except if they were gifts or inheritance. It does not matter whether the property was acquired before or during the marriage. It will all be divided equally during separation or divorce.
The separated spouses will still be married, and so they will still be responsible for each other’s debts unless the agreement states otherwise. Children may hinder one’s movements, but separated couples are free to leave the state.
The law does not provide for reconciliation, but two people can decide to terminate their decree of separation by filing for a resumption of marital relations. If they don’t reconcile, they can go ahead and file for dissolution of marriage.
Should you wish to proceed with a legal separation in the state of Iowa, we offer templates and online samples of Marital Separation Agreements to make the process that much faster.
Whether you live in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Iowa City, Waterloo, Ames, West Des Moines, Council Bluffs or any other city of Iowa, you can use our legal forms easily.