State Court System Offering Lawyer-Free Service for Couples Seeking Divorce

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Iowa Judicial Branch Building, which houses the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The state court system is offering a new lawyer-free service for couples seeking a divorce.

Judicial Branch Public Information Associate Marissa Gaal said the interactive service is only for people looking for a divorce who don’t have children.

“This is an access to justice issue, so this is for Iowans seeking a divorce who either choose not to use an attorney or cannot afford an attorney,” Gaal said.

The interactive forms are generated when a user answers questions online from a variety of prompts.

After the process is done, you just have to print out the papers, sign it and file it with the court.

People will have to pay a $185 filing fee, which could save a couple money if they do not want to hire an attorney.

Robert Evans, a family law attorney at Miller, Zimmerman & Evans, said this process may be helpful for a small group of people.

“It’s a good starting point, but ultimately there’s a lot of law that is applied, there are a lot of facts that need to be considered. I think that for a certain group of society, it’s good. For others who have a little more as in regard to assets or liabilities, I think probably talking to an attorney would be a best bet,” Evans said.

Gaal said about 5,000 couples without children filed for divorce in Iowa last year.

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