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Legal Information: Iowa


November 3, 2023

What are the residency requirements to file for divorce in Iowa?

The residency requirements deal with how long each spouse must live in the state of Iowa in order to file for divorce in Iowa.

If your spouse (the defendant) lives in Iowa, you (the plaintiff) can file against him/her if:

  1. you have lived in Iowa for any amount of time; or
  2. you have never lived in Iowa (currently or in the past). However, if either of these is true, you need to have your spouse served by “personal service.”1 Please talk to a lawyer to understand what exactly this means.

If your spouse (the defendant) does not live in Iowa, you (the spouse who is filing for a divorce) must be a resident of Iowa for at least one year.1 In order to be considered a “resident of Iowa,” you must have a fixed, permanent home in Iowa and have no intention of leaving Iowa.2

To figure out in which county the divorce must be filed, the petition is filed in the district court in the county where either you or your spouse lives.3

1 See Iowa Code § 598.5(1)(k)
2 See, for example, In re Marriage of Kimura, 471 N.W.2d 869 (1991)
3 Iowa Code § 598.2