Caren Carter Law

DIVORCE           FAMILY LAW          APPEALS         


What to Expect

The divorce process is  emotionally and financially painful. When the parties cannot agree, the process becomes long and protracted, and very expensive. Divorce cases are billed at an hourly rate. So the longer the fight, the bigger the bill.

Very often it is beneficial to see a therapist on a regular basis, and even talk to your doctor about anti depressant medicine. These aids might be helpful during this process.

Iowa is a no fault divorce state so who is sleeping with whom is usually not a factor in resolving the money issues. It can come into play if one is seeking custody.

After filing the "petition" and "answer" things can slow down a little and the attorneys start to engage in discovery. There will be written requests for information called "interrogatories" and written "requests for documents and things". Then there might be a deposition which is where the other lawyer asks you questions in front of a court reporter. And then if matters cannot be resolved you have a trial.

The court system is unpredictable now due to financial restraints the state is experiencing. So trial can be far far away. We can set a trial date and prepare, be ready to go and the court administrator will call and say "you got bumped". and they reset the date.This is very frustrating for the lawyers and the clients, so it is best to resolve as much as you can and be flexible when negotiating with the other side. Settle on small things and save the fight for the large issues.


Iowa Courts take domestic violence very seriously. Call the cops every time and have that person's ass hauled to jail! Go to the doctor/ER to document any injuries, and take pictures even if you didn't call the cops. Confide in a close friend ie: report it to someone.


The Court uses the test known as "The Best interests of the Child". When determining custody the Court will look at which parent or circumstances are best for the children. The Court does not consider what is the best interest of the parent. So if you appear to be unstable ( even knowing how stressful a time this is ) the Court will look for the more stable of the parents and applies certain factors as set out in the Iowa Code and Supreme Court decisions.

Iowa Code Chapter 598.41 details the factors the Court considers.


The Court take in many factors when awarding spousal support. These factors are outlined in the Iowa Code.

If you have been a stay at home spouse or have lost your job through no fault of your own, then the Court will probably award you spousal support.

Spousal support is not gender specific so think things through and consult with Caren before moving out.


Have a strong understanding of your joint finances. What you don't know, we can find out. Gather your tax returns for the last five years and become as familiar as possible with your spouse's pension plan.

Very often marriages can be saved through bankruptcy (if there are financial stresses) or through counseling and Caren encourages those options. That being said, if there is no hope and you are just plain sick of it all, then let's file for you and fight for the very best result! Let's get you a fresh start in your life.

Do's and Don'ts

Don't share your personal information with anyone. Remember, those conversations are not protected by attorney client privilege. Your friends and family can be subpoenaed to testify. If you are having problems coping and need someone to talk to, hire a therapist. That communication should be protected.

Don't hide the children or greatly reduce their contact with the other spouse. The Courts frown upon this and
could award custody to your spouse based upon these acts.

Don't start hiding or selling assets. Your spouse can go to the Court for relief and it could put you in a bad light to the judge.
Talk to Caren about this delicate matter.

Don't introduce your children to any new paramore.

Do not, do not have your new love interest sleep over while you have the child/children with you.

Don't, do not, ever speak poorly about the spouse to the children. Remember they are children and love their parents regardless. The Court frowns on this also.

Do not leave any nasty messages on voice mail, text, or e-mail.

Do not write any nastygrams to your spouse. These always end up as exhibits in the trial, if trial  is necessary

Do not be rude or swear at your spouse on the phone, he/she is probably recording the conversation.

Do save all financial information and store it away from the home.

Do change your password or make sure your computer is safe. Don't leave it behind at home at anytime.

Do make an appointment with your tax preparer to determine what your tax liability will be if you file separately or jointly after you separate.

Do make sure you have the only key to your car and check how the title reads.

Do keep a witness with you if there is any chance of violence.

Do call the police right away if there is an incident of domestic violence.

Do get all firearms/weapons out of the house and locked up elsewhere.

Do remember that your spouse is no longer your friend. This is tough because no matter what, there was a time when your spouse was your best friend/lover. Divorce is an adversarial process. Remember that.

If there is domestic violence, run do not walk, to the nearest police station. There are many resources out there is help you.

Do tell Caren if you are having an affair.

Do tell Caren everything. It is confidential.


Caren Carter works closely with Constance Peschang
Stannard, Esquire who has many successful appeals under her belt. Ms. Stannard is located in Iowa City, Iowa but can do appellate work from any part of the State of Iowa. Appellate work is usually a flat fee and the costs of the transcript and court costs. She is awesome to work with and compassionate.

Remember, the appeal process is time sensitive.

To review Ms. Stannard's  work go to:

In re Marriage of Hansen (custody, joint physical care) 773 N.W.2d 683 (Iowa 2007)

In re Marriage of Malloy (custody, child support
) N687 .W.2d 110 (Iowa App.2004)

In re Marriage of Campbell (property rights) 623 N.W. 2d 585 (Iowa App.2001)

In re Marriage of Halversen (paternity, custody) 521 N.W. 2d 725 (Iowa 1994)

In re Marriage of Anderson (spousal support) 522 N.W. 2d 99 (Iowa App 1994)

Judges are human. If you think a judge made a mistake, then appeal the Ruling. Call today for an appointment.

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