Every marriage is different, and so is every divorce. We believe it is important to offer our clients alternatives to divorce litigation, including alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation and collaborative divorce. The fact is that most divorces end in settlement, not in trial. We are trained to negotiate effectively on our clients' behalf and to help our clients resolve issues as amicably as possible with their spouses.
In some circumstances, negotiation is not the best approach to serve our clients' needs. In those cases, our experienced litigators are skilled in gathering information in preparation for trial, and in presenting it effectively in order to achieve our clients' goals for their dissolution.
Since the Iowa Supreme Court decision of Varnum v. Brien, in 2009, Iowa has recognized same-sex marriages. Our attorneys have experience in addressing the unique legal questions that can arise in the context of a same-sex divorce.
Collaborative divorce or dissolution is an alternative method of resolution in which spouses agree to work together, openly and honestly, to reach a divorce settlement without going to court. Together with their attorneys and other professionals, including a financial neutral and a child specialist, the parties negotiate in good faith and with full disclosure of relevant facts. Collaborative dissolution is desirable for many families because it reduces tension and hostility, and lays the groundwork for future positive communication between the parties. This is especially beneficial for divorcing couples with children. Collaborative dissolution often takes less time than a litigated dissolution and can also be less expensive. It usually also results in a more satisfying outcome for the parties, who create their own solutions rather than having a judge impose a solution upon them.
Our attorneys have received specific training in the practice of Collaborative Law and are experienced in this method of dispute resolution.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution used to resolve disputes in family law matters without litigation. In this process, a neutral mediator works with both parties to help them craft their own agreements regarding such matters as property division, spousal support, child custody and parenting time. As with Collaborative Law, mediation has the advantage of allowing the parties to create a solution that works for them, rather than having to live with a decree handed down by a judge. Once the parties have reached agreement, a judge will approve their settlement. Our firm offers skilled attorneys who have gone through extensive training in domestic relations mediation and have extensive experience serving as mediators.
Most parents want the best for their children, but often disagree about what that means. Often, the issues of child custody, support, and parenting time are the most fiercely contested aspects of a family law case. When our clients are unable to reach agreement on these issues with the other parent, our litigators apply their extensive knowledge of Iowa family law to the facts of the situation. They then present that information to the judge to demonstrate that our client's position serves the best interests of the children involved. The court can only make a determination based upon the information in its hands. Our attorneys make certain that the relevant facts are available when needed.
Children have a right to relationships with, and support from, both parents. When, for whatever reason, a child's paternity is not established at birth, it may be necessary to have it legally established at a later date. Our dedicated attorneys assist both mothers and fathers in pursuing determination of a child's paternity, so that everyone, especially the child, can benefit.
Everyone should be able to move forward after a divorce with the resources they need to make a new life. Our family law attorneys are well-versed in Iowa property law, including the distinction between separate and marital property and the division of retirement plans. We ensure that our clients receive a fair and equitable division of property pursuant to Iowa law.
In some circumstances, it is appropriate for one party to receive spousal support from the other after dissolution, either for a period of time or permanently. An award of spousal support depends on a number of statutory factors, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of the person seeking support, and the age and health of the parties. The property award is also among the factors considered by the court when it decides whether to award spousal support, how much, and for how long.
In marriage, both parties benefit from planning ahead and knowing what each others' expectations are. Prenuptial agreements, contrary to popular belief, aren't planning for a marriage to fail; they are planning, so that a marriage can succeed. Our firm offers support to parties contemplating marriage (or those who are recently married) as they develop an understanding of their assets and debts and a plan for how to manage them going forward. Prenuptial agreements can benefit any couple, but may be especially helpful for those entering a second marriage or with children from a previous relationship.
Allegations of domestic violence add a layer of complexity to a family law case. Whether our clients are seeking protection from an abusive spouse, or have been accused of domestic abuse, our firm offers appropriate support and guidance. Allegations of domestic violence can have far-reaching impacts on almost every impact of a dissolution case, including child custody, parenting time, and division of property. Iowa judges are also authorized to award temporary custody and visitation in protective orders, because abusers often threaten to take the children of a relationship if a victim leaves. Our attorneys are aware of the intricacies of the law in this area and are skilled in protecting our clients' rights.
Call our office in Cedar Rapids today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can help: (319) 366-1000.
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