Divorce and Family Law News: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait


Understandably, many folks want their divorces completed right away. Under Iowa law, that is not always possible. This newsletter topic concerns waiting periods and default decrees. 

How long do I have to wait for a divorce decree in Iowa?

In Iowa, a party seeking divorce must wait 90 days from the date the original notice is served, from the day the waiver or the acceptance of original notice is filed, or from the last date of publication of notice, whichever time period is longer before the Court will issue a divorce decree. In some default or emergency situations, the Court may waive the 90-day waiting period.

If my spouse defaults do I have to wait the full 90 days?

No, in the case of a default, the court has the ability to shorten the 90-day waiting period and issue a default decree. The defaulting party will often contest the Court's decision to issue the default decree, claiming excusable neglect or some other defense. These defenses, however, are not always successful. Consequently, a party who fails to answer their original notice and other pleadings could have a default divorce decree issued against them before the 90-day waiting period has elapsed.

Under what circumstances will a Court waive the waiting period?

Iowa Code gives Courts discretion to waive or shorten the waiting period upon showing of emergency or necessity. The strong public policy reason for the waiting period articulated by the Iowa legislature have made the Courts reluctant to waive the waiting period in all but the most deserving cases. Iowa Courts have granted motions to waive the waiting period for several reasons, including monetary savings and facts showing that an accelerated divorce is in the best interest of the children. Many other situations may convince a court to waive the waiting period.

Do you have questions about divorce and family law?

Contact Tyler Coe for more information about your divorce and family law questions at 515-288-6041 or coe@whitfieldlaw.com. You can subscribe to receive the newsletter in your email inbox.

Drake University Law School student and Whitfield & Eddy law clerk Trevor Jordison provided research for this month’s newsletter with Tyler.


Practice Areas


We use cookies and similar technologies to gather information about your use of our Website and to customize your experience using the Website. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.