Des Moines, Iowa Family Law Attorneys in Polk County

Des Moines, Iowa Family Law Attorneys in Polk County

Des Moines, Iowa Family Law Attorneys Representing You in Polk County

Facing a family law matter can be a stressful roller coaster. This can be the case not only for you but also for your entire family. Our team at Stange Law Firm, PC knows that, which is why we go above and beyond to make things smoother on you from the start. When you are faced with any type of family law issue and difficulties in Des Moines, IA, you need an empathic and caring lawyer on your side. Our office location in Des Moines, Iowa serves all of Polk County, and the surrounding areas.

Since our firm is dedicated solely to practicing family law, we can guarantee you that we will always focus on you and your case first. Our lawyers have the diligence and compassion to guide you through every aspect of your case, no matter what the family law matter may be.

Polk County Local Court Information

Knowing about the local courts and the local Iowa family laws can be useful for you to understand the process better. For your benefit, more information can be found about the Des Moines Court system at these links:


Des Moines Family Lawyers at Stange Law Firm Can Help With Your Family Law Matter


Your Des Moines, Iowa Family Law Attorneys and Law Firm

When you are facing this emotional time, you need a lawyer who is going to empathize with you and help you understand your rights in the process. We represent clients in a wide range of family law matters in Des Moines, IA..

The lawyers that we offer at Stange Law Firm have been recognized for numerous awards for divorce and family law. These awards include being named Super Lawyers Honorees, Rising Stars Honorees, and being Lead Counsel Rated for divorce and/or family law. For more information about our lawyers and to see the awards they have earned, you can visit their biographies. If you are not sure whether we can assist with your case, please feel free to contact us online. We’d be glad to talk with you to see if representation might be possible.

On this website, you can also read articles about family law, view informational videos, and seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application, or view our child support calculator for Iowa.

What is Family Law in Des Moines, Iowa?

Family Law in Des Moines, Iowa is dedicated to helping individuals with matters related to family relationships. This encompasses a range of issues, providing support and guidance to families undergoing challenging and difficult times with care and empathy. Key aspects of family law include the dissolution of marriage, child custody, child support, adoption, paternity, and father’s rights.

Due to the often emotional and stressful nature of these cases, Stange Law Firm’s attorneys are committed to aiding their clients through this difficult process. Family law practice covers various topics, including:

Divorce in Des Moines, Iowa

Divorce is the process of dissolving the bonds of marriage. When parties get married, they form a legal relationship. If the parties decide that they would no longer like to be a part of this relationship, they must file the necessary paperwork with the Iowa courts.

Iowa permits “no-fault divorce,” which allows the dissolution of marriage if the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the respondent of a divorce is a resident of Iowa and is served the divorce papers personally, there is no residency requirement. Otherwise, the petitioner must have resided in Iowa for a minimum of one year. 

Each state has its specific guidelines for how to divide debts and assets in a divorce, but the rules are similar in most states. In Iowa, courts have the responsibility to divide all of the spouses’ property, no matter if the property was acquired before or after the marriage, with an exception for gifts and inheritance before or during the marriage. 

Divorce is Civil Litigation in Des Moines, Iowa

Divorce cases are heard in state court. Similar to other forms of civil litigation, parties may work with counsel to gather evidence through depositions, interrogatories, and subpoenas. Parties can also choose to participate in mediation sessions, the collaborative process, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. In many circumstances, cases may be settled before going to trial. However, some cases that involve contested divorces, high assets, and certain other factors may have to go to trial.

Maintenance and Spousal Support in Des Moines, IA

One of the most strenuous issues in a divorce matter is often spousal support (previously referred to as alimony). Some states utilize a formula to determine the amount of support. In other cases, it is put in the judge’s hands and left to their discretion. Even in matters where the court uses a formula, it’s still imperative to make sure that the court uses the proper procedures to determine the correct amount of support.

In Iowa, considerations for spousal support may include: 

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age, as well as physical and mental health or emotional condition
  • How property is divided in the divorce
  • Each spouse’s education level at the time of marriage, as well as the divorce
  • The spouse’s (who is receiving support) earning capacity
  • The likelihood of the requesting spouse becoming self-sufficient (to a standard of living reasonably compared to that of the marriage) and the time necessary to accomplish it
  • Tax consequences
  • Any mutual agreement made between the spouses concerning financial or service contributions by one spouse with the expectation of future reciprocation or compensation by the other spouse
  • The provisions of a prenuptial agreement
  • Other factors that courts may consider relevant

Pre and Postnuptial Agreements in Des Moines, Iowa

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that parties sign before entering into a marriage. Prenuptial agreements should contain detailed descriptions of the significant property and debts owned by each partner. Depending on the nature and complexity of these assets, a prenuptial agreement can range from a few pages to hundreds of pages in length. At Stange Law Firm in Iowa, we draft each agreement so that it meets the exact needs of our clients. 

Certain matters cannot be included as part of a prenuptial agreement, like child custody and child support agreements. Otherwise, the parties can create an agreement that outlines matters including separate property, distribution of the assets, and spousal support in the event of a divorce. This same type of agreement can also be entered into after a marriage has occurred. In this case, it is referred to as a postnuptial agreement.

Child Custody in Des Moines, IA

Child custody is one of the most contentious and difficult areas of family law. When it comes to custody of the child, most states, including Iowa, base their decisions on the best interests of the child. The court takes into account which parent has the better relationship with the child, whether or not each parent can provide a stable home environment for the child, and whether either parent has any criminal background or any history of substance or physical abuse.

If a parenting plan can be established by the parents, the court will usually follow this agreement. However, if the parents cannot agree, the family attorneys at Stange Law Firm can present evidence to the court regarding the child’s best interests. This can involve presenting school records, the testimony of a psychologist or substance abuse counselor, criminal records, and even medical records. Our attorneys will work to obtain the necessary evidence, while also making sure to consider the rules of evidence that are applicable in the particular local jurisdiction.

Legal and Physical Custody in Des Moines, Iowa

Most states divide custody into physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is who actually, physically has the child in their custody at any given time. Legal custody describes who makes any major decisions about the child. Physical custody and legal custody can be shared between the parties, or the court can award primary custody to just one of the parents. It’s also possible to share one type of custody without sharing the other.

Iowa prefers to award joint legal custody to the parents. When determining if this is appropriate, courts consider many factors which can include the suitability of each parent to be a custodian of the children, the parent’s ability to communicate effectively, the ability of both parents to be supportive of the other’s relationship with the children, the geographic proximity of the parents, whether there is a history of domestic abuse, and many other factors. 

In terms of physical custody, Iowa courts prefer to award one parent sole physical custody and grant the other parent liberal visitation rights. 

Child Support in Des Moines

Children have the right to support from both of their parents. The purpose behind child support is to provide the child with the same financial resources as if their parents lived in the same house, although in most child support matters, the child’s parents live in separate households. The courts presume that the parent who cares for the child will provide direct support for the child.

Each state has its own formula for determining the proper child support amounts. Most of these formulas take into account each parent’s income, any allowable tax deductions, and other expenses, a child’s health insurance expenses, and whether they have any specific childcare needs. Some states also factor in how much time each parent spends with the child, although this is not common practice by all states.

The family lawyers at Stange Law Firm work with their clients to help ensure that child support is fairly and accurately calculated. If the other parent tries to hide income or is willingly unemployed, a diligent family law attorney can assist the client by showing the entire situation. A family lawyer also looks over the calculations made by the court to make sure that no errors were made that could result in an unfair and inaccurate calculation of child support.

Abuse and Neglect Proceedings in Des Moines, Iowa

Matters involving abuse and neglect are also sensitive areas of family law. If the State of Iowa is under the assumption that a parent is not able to effectively care for a child, they may choose to begin abuse and neglect proceedings. The state may represent a parent who is accused of abuse or neglect, or they may even represent a child.

When family law attorneys represent individuals in abuse and neglect proceedings, they are trying to defend their clients against the reports of abuse or neglect, or they are assisting their clients in earning back custody of their children by assisting them to comply with services and other requirements. Because the standard for terminating parental rights is high, family law attorneys work diligently to advocate and care for their clients in a situation where the state may be trying to terminate those rights.

Schedule a Consultation With Stange Law Firm’s Family Lawyers/Attorneys Today in Des Moines, Iowa, or Nearby

If you are looking to find professional representation for a family law matter in Des Moines, Iowa, you can rely on Stange Law Firm’s attorneys to help advocate for you. You can contact us by calling 855-805-0595 or online.

Polk County (Des Moines), Iowa Office (515-706-9130) | 699 Walnut St., Suite 455, Des Moines, Iowa 50309


Representing Clients in Divorce & Family Matters

We also handle many other family law matters, including but not limited to:

Dissolution of Marriage
Unfortunately, there are times when a marriage is irretrievably broken and a divorce is the only option. We can help with your uncontested, contested, simple or complex divorce case.
Legal Separation
There are some instances where married parties are separated, but are unsure whether their marriage can be reconciled or may later need to be dissolved. We can help with a legal separation if this is the case.
In certain circumstances, a party may be able to seek an annulment if there are circumstances that led to a party being fraudulently induced into entering a marriage.
Family Law
Unfortunately, there are times when a marriage is irretrievably broken and a divorce is the only option. We can help with your uncontested, contested, simple or complex divorce case.
Collaborative Law/Mediation
If you are looking for an amicable resolution to your divorce or family law matter, we have attorneys who can help you with a collaborative family law case or mediation.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
These agreements help couples make critical decisions about their relationships, just in case. While prenuptial agreements are drafted before a marriage, postnuptial agreements are drafted during the marriage, usually when circumstances change.
Paternity Law/Mediation
With approximately forty-percent of all children being born out of wedlock, we represent numerous unmarried parents in child custody and child support disputes. These cases are the twenty-first century divorce and extremely common.
Guardianships and conservatorships
We also represent clients in matters of guardianships and conservatorships, helping them protect the people they love — especially when those people can no longer care for themselves. Our work in this area often involves people facing physical and mental illnesses, alcoholism and addiction.
Surrogacy Agreements
We can help clients negotiate surrogacy agreements, drafting and executing all related documents as well as resolving any conflicts that may arise.
Step-parent adoption
We represent parents in step-parent adoptions, which usually occur when a parent marries or remarries after the birth of a biological child. Step-parent adoptions help bring families closer together by creating a solid family unit.
Name Change
If you are seeking to legally change your name, we can help.
Orders of Protection
We can help you in legal proceedings involving restraining orders.
We are honored to represent clients who wish to adopt a child into their family.
Minor emancipation
In some cases, minors do best when they are given the rights and responsibilities of adults. We assist in minor emancipation, representing both teens and their parents.
Grandparents' rights
Lawyers at our firm also handle grandparents' rights issues such as child custody, guardianship and grandparent adoption.
We represent parties in appeals of adverse family court judgments, including divorce, child custody, child support, maintenance and grandparent visitation.
Child Support
We represent clients in matters involving child support.
Child Custody
We represent parents in child custody disputes.
Juvenile Matters
We represent parties in juvenile matters involving the Division of Family Law Services.
We assist clients in modifying prior child custody and child support judgments when the facts call for it.
We help clients in contempt of court matters as well as family access motions.
Military Divorce
We are proud to represent service members in divorce and family law matters.
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Serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa and Beyond in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

From our webpage, you can also read articles about family law, view informational videos, seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application or view support calculators for MissouriIllinois and Kansas.

If you are looking to find and hire a child custody lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation at any of our convenient locations.


Prenuptial Agreements Line by Line

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Family Law Illinois

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

Strategies For Military Family Law

Aspatore Books from Thomson Reuters Westlaw

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Stange Law Firm, PC

120 S. Central Avenue, Suite 450

St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191
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When you choose us, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or service. You get the resources of a large divorce and family law firm AND the attentive service of a local attorney.