Domestic Abuse & Divorce in Iowa

By Wayne Thomas

Divorces can become highly contentious between spouses. However, Iowa is a pure no-fault state, which means that a divorce cannot be granted on grounds of domestic abuse. Instead, Iowa law provides that judges may issue emergency and permanent protection orders to ensure the abuse stops during and after the divorce.

Abuse in Divorce

Since Iowa is a pure no-fault state, you cannot use domestic violence as grounds for your divorce. Instead, the court only looks at whether the marriage is broken and without the possibility of reconciliation between spouses. However, the presence of domestic violence could be used by the court to support its conclusion that the marriage is broken. In addition, because safety of children is the most important consideration in all custody determinations, a history of domestic violence may serve as the court's basis for awarding sole custody to you.

Protective Orders

As the divorce process moves forward, victims of domestic violence may obtain a protective order. These orders are signed by a judge and provide specific legal protections to the recipient, aimed at preventing further abuse. The order may require the abuser to leave the marital home, stay away from the victim spouse's place of employment or school, and award temporary child custody to the victim spouse. A copy of the order will be forwarded to the 911 dispatcher in the county where it was issued and be freely accessible by local law enforcement.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Temporary Protective Orders

While a hearing is generally required before a protective order will be issued, you may request a temporary order if you are in immediate danger of further abuse. This request may accompany your initial divorce paperwork; notice of these filings, also referred to as service, must be provided to your spouse. Courts in Iowa will likely forward your paperwork to the sheriff's office for service in cases of domestic violence; however, in some counties, you may be responsible for contacting the sheriff's office yourself. A judge will review the request and has the discretion to issue a temporary order without a hearing.

Permanent Protective Orders

After a temporary protective order is issued, a hearing must be held no less than five days and no more than fifteen days from the date of service. At that time, you will be required to present evidence that the abuse occurred. You must prove that you were either physically abused, a gun or other dangerous weapon was brandished at you, or you were threatened with physical violence to the point that you were actually in fear of being harmed. Evidence may be in the form of police reports, witness testimony and medical records. After hearing all evidence, a judge will decide whether you have established sufficient grounds for continued protection and issue a permanent order.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Help for Abused Mothers to Get Divorced in Arizona
 

References

Related articles

Family Law on Alimony and Physical Abuse

No-fault divorce went nationwide in 2010 when New York became the last state to recognize grounds such as irreconcilable differences and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Some states, such as Florida, recognize only no-fault grounds. It's no longer necessary to prove your spouse did something wrong in order to get a divorce, no matter where you live. However, this doesn’t mean that marital misconduct, such as physical abuse, will not affect issues of alimony, even in pure no-fault states.

Custody & Addiction

A parent's substance abuse can have extremely negative consequences for children and family courts around the U.S. recognize this. Many states have a rebuttable presumption that it is not in a child's best interests to reside with an addicted parent. A rebuttable presumption is one in which an accused parent can rebut an assertion of substance abuse by explaining the addiction is in the past, does not affect the child or does not exist. The parent struggling with addiction must prove they can provide a safe home for the child and if they cannot, may be denied custody and visitation. If either you or your ex struggles with addiction, obtaining treatment is the first step toward establishing a healthier environment for your children.

What Is Considered Verbal Abuse & Harassment From a Divorced Spouse?

In a perfect world, all divorces would be amiable. Separating couples would divide assets and set child custody arrangements peacefully before beginning new lives as single individuals. Unfortunately, a divorce is an emotionally-charged event that can drive either party to behave inappropriately. This includes verbally abusing or harassing children or a former spouse. It's crucial that divorced individuals recognize and take action against verbal harassment and abuse following a divorce to ensure that the behavior does not continue.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

The Effect of an Order of Protection on Divorce Proceedings in Arizona

In Arizona, an order of protection offers protection from family members, including spouses, who have threatened or ...

How Does Georgia Define Verbal Abuse in a Divorce Case?

Georgia law allows couples to divorce due to verbal abuse, but only if the abuse rises to the level of "cruel ...

How Does Spouse Abuse Affect Child Custody?

Courts and parents alike want to keep children safe from harm. In determining the custody arrangement following a ...

Proving Harassment in a Divorce

Divorce isn't pleasant under the best of circumstances. However, when you are being harassed by your soon-to-be ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED