Can I have my Maiden Name Back After Divorce?

When a couple is getting divorced, it is not uncommon for the person who changed their last name at the time of marriage to decide they would like to return to their previous or maiden name. If a person is changing their name in a divorce proceeding, there is no extra fee. If the person is the petitioner (person petitioning the court for a divorce), they should let their attorney know that they would like to change their name. In the petition for dissolution, the attorney will state that the person would like to be returned to their previous or maiden name. The Iowa Code states that a person can be returned to their maiden name or the name on their birth certificate. A person may also return to the name they had immediately before getting married.

If you are the respondent in a divorce (person who is responding to a divorce petition), then it’s important that you also let the court know if you want to return to a previous or maiden name in your answer to the divorce petition.

If you have begun a divorce action, or if you have been served a divorce petition, it’s important to let your attorney know whether or not you’d like to keep your married name or be returned to a prior name as early as possible in the proceedings.

Once the divorce is finalized, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree in order to get a new social security card and driver’s license.

If you have other questions about name changes, Arenson Law Group is here to serve your needs. Please call or email Dana Judas today for a free initial consultation at (319) 731-0549 or

Do we have to attend Mediation?

In many counties in Iowa, mediation is a requirement for non-marital custody cases and divorces. Depending on where you live, you may need to attend a mediation session with a mediator and your ex-spouse or significant other. It is important to thoroughly read all court documents to determine whether mediation is a requirement in your county.

What is important to remember is that mediation is not binding. This means that even if you come to an agreement in mediation, you may be able to change your mind later if you no longer agree. The purpose of mediation is to get the parties talking to one another to see where there may be agreements, and where there is disagreement. With the help of an experienced mediator, sometimes parties are able to come to agreements on issues such as visitation, child support, or property settlements.

Coming to an agreement in mediation can sometimes mean that the parties will not need to have other court hearings to determine temporary issues such as custody of their children or finances. Mediation is also useful because sometimes it brings to light issues that the parties may not have thought about, such as who is keeping the marital home, how to split a 401(k), or whether they would like to contribute to their children’s college education.

If you have more questions about Mediation, the Arenson Law Group is here to serve your needs. Please call or email Dana Judas today for a free initial consultation at (319) 731-0549 or

What is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce?

In Iowa, there is no difference between filing a contested and uncontested divorce. The documents needed to file the case are the same, regardless of whether the parties agree or disagree. The filing fee to begin the divorce process is also the same. Contested, as opposed to uncontested, simply indicates whether or not the parties are generally in agreement about how to finalize their divorce; it does not dictate which documents need to be filed with the court.

If the parties are in agreement as to how to settle their divorce, this can be helpful to the parties’ attorneys. The parties can draft a basic outline of agreed-upon terms and provide it to their respective counsel. The attorneys can then work together with the parties to draft the final document in the divorce, called a stipulation of agreement or a settlement agreement.

Each divorce is different. While some cases begin with the parties being very far apart in how they want to settle their cases, sometimes they agree on more than they initially think. Other times, a case may begin with the parties feeling as though they can easily settle, but they may realize they are not actually in agreement on many key issues.
If you are thinking of getting a divorce or want to learn more about the process, Arenson Law Group is here to serve your needs. Please call or email Dana Judas today for a free initial consultation at (319) 731-0549 or

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