Family Law

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Family Law2019-07-01T17:59:09+00:00

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Des Moines

Our Des Moines family law attorneys are committed to taking a personal approach with each family law client. We know that all family issues can lead to an extraordinary amount of stress and worry, as the process is rarely easy on anyone involved. Because of this and the complexity of the law, it is important to work with an experienced family law lawyer to help guide you through the process. At Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C., we aim to give you peace of mind, while we work to find solutions that are right for you and your family.

If you are experiencing a family law matter in the Des Moines area, give our office a call at 515-528-9316 to set up a free consultation. Payment plans are available, and we are also available in emergency situations that require immediate attention.

Family Law : Children

Paternity is the act of establishing that a man is the father of a child. By establishing paternity, visitation rights, child support payments, custody rights and more can all be secured. We know the paternity laws in Iowa and can help guide you through the paternity process.

When deciding on child custody in Iowa, the best interest of the child is always the main motivation. While parents are typically encouraged to come to an agreement out of court, this isn’t always possible. If mediation fails, your child custody case may be argued in court. Our child custody lawyers are ready to advocate for you and your child(ren) in and out of court. We can also assist with modifications to your child custody agreement, if either parent’s situation changes (such as child relocation).

Parental abduction or kidnapping involves the taking or concealing of a child by a parent in violation of the rights of the other parent or legal guardian. Parental kidnapping is a criminal act and needs to be handled by an attorney well-versed in child custody matters. Our family law attorneys can help fight for your parental rights.

When a parent takes a child from the United States or refuses to return a child to the United States, complex international laws come into play. A knowledgeable family law attorney needs to consider the country and the specific child custody laws that govern each parent’s legal rights. If you are dealing with international child abduction, contact our office immediately for help resolving the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you are seeking spousal support in a divorce or oppose providing spousal support in a divorce, you need an experienced alimony attorney to carefully look through the full financial picture and consider the factors involved in your unique situation.

In Iowa, spousal support is awarded based on one party’s ability to pay and the other party’s financial need in order to retain the same relative lifestyle shared by both parties during the marriage. Some factors considered include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The property brought into the marriage by each party
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage
  • The age and physical and emotional health of both parties
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other
  • The earning capacity of each party
  • Other factors

Our experienced spousal support lawyers can protect your interests and find the best possible solution for you.

Our family law attorneys in Des Moines are dedicated to helping you become a parent through adoption. We can help thoroughly explain the adoption process, file the necessary paperwork, obtain consent from the birth parent, complete the termination of the birth parent’s parental rights and finalize the adoption.

There are certain circumstances when the termination of a parent’s parental rights is needed. If you are seeking to terminate parental rights or defending against the termination of parental rights, you need to speak with a knowledgeable family law lawyer. We represent parties on both sides and help navigate the process and implications.

Family Law : Marriage

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more popular among couples. If you are considering drafting and signing a prenuptial agreement prior to your wedding, you need to ensure that the document is both valid and accurately states your intentions. Our family law attorneys can help create a valid prenuptial agreement that precisely declares the separation of property brought into a marriage. We also represent individuals disputing the contents of a prenuptial agreement during a divorce.

Consulting with a family law attorney is wise before legally changing your name. We will fully explain the impact of a name change and guide you through all the paperwork needed for a name change in Des Moines.

While a divorce establishes the end of a valid marriage, an annulment means the marriage was never valid in the first place, and therefore, never existed. The conditions for an annulment include:

  • Where the marriage between the parties is prohibited by law.
  • Where either party was impotent at the time of marriage.
  • Where either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage.
  • Where either party was a ward under guardianship and was found by the court to lack the capacity to contract a valid marriage.

If you meet any of these conditions, you need to seek an experienced family law attorney to annul your marriage. At Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C., we’ll help make the annulment process as smooth as possible.

If both parties in a marriage agree on the terms of a divorce, the uncontested divorce process in Iowa can be an efficient and cost-effective way to dissolve a marriage. In cases where each spouse agrees on things like child custody, property division, spousal support, child support, etc., our divorce attorneys can draft a divorce settlement and submit it to the court for approval. Once approved, the settlement terms become enforceable and the divorce is final. Divorce is stressful enough, but Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. can help streamline your uncontested divorce process from start to finish.

If either party in a divorce proceeding disagrees on the terms or the need for a divorce, the case will be scheduled for trial before a judge. At this trial, each spouse and his/her divorce attorney will present information to a judge, and the judge will ultimately make a decision. The contested divorce process can be complex, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable divorce lawyer protecting your interests. For contested divorces in Des Moines, we offer quality and dependable legal representation from start to finish.

Our Des Moines attorneys can help you establish a plan to manage, administer and distribute your assets during your life and after. We also can guide you through the probate process, upon the death of a loved one. The basic Estate Planning package consists of a Will, Living Will and Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney.

Family Law : Other Practices

Appealing a family law judgment can be a confusing process. There are deadlines and rules that must be strictly adhered to. Contact our family law office as quickly as possible after an unfavorable ruling, and we can help you navigate the appellate process from start to finish.

Our Des Moines attorneys can help you establish a plan to manage, administer and distribute your assets during your life and after. We also can guide you through the probate process, upon the death of a loved one. The basic Estate Planning package consists of a Will, Living Will and Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney.

Family Law : F.A.Q.

How do I get back child support that is owed to me?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

Back child support is handled by the Child Support Recovery Unit. For more information, you may contact their automated phone line at 1-888-229-9223.

Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

In Iowa, if you do not have minor children and do not have an attorney prepare the paperwork, divorcing couples may handle their own separations by filing the documents found at the following website: http://www.iowacourtsonline.org/Court_Rules_and_Forms/Family_Law_Forms/

Though a person may always represent himself or herself in any legal matter, attorneys are helpful in divorces for a few specific reasons. First, attorneys practicing in the area of divorce are generally more familiar with divorce law than their clients; they are generally more effective at watching out for their clients’ interests. Second, divorce is often a very emotionally complicated event in a person’s life. Having an attorney provides a layer of objectivity that people going through a divorce seldom attain. In delicate negotiations regarding child support, visitation or division of property, having cooler heads on both sides of the divorce can make a world of difference.

If you are contemplating filing for divorce, contact Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. for your initial consultation at no charge.

Should I get a Prenuptial Agreement?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

A Prenuptial Agreement is a document some couples sign before they marry to define the property they would part with should a divorce occur in the future. Without a prenuptial agreement, the division of assets in Iowa is done through a process called equitable distribution.

Whether or not a couple should draft a prenuptial agreement constitutes legal advice that Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. may not disseminate on this website. For more information about such agreements or other marital issues, contact Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. for an initial consultation at no charge.

How is the amount of child support figured out by the state?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

In Iowa, court-ordered child support is established using the Child Support Guidelines adopted by the Supreme Court.

For specific questions related to child support, contact Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. for an initial consultation at no charge.

Why is it important to have a Will?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

A will is a foundational document that every person should take the time to have a legal professional prepare. It allows the individual to govern the distribution of their property after they pass. In addition, an effective will can provide security to an individual’s family through clarifying the wishes of the departed as well as establishing testamentary trusts for the efficient management of property after the individual’s passing.

From the simplest will to the most complicated trust, let Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. handle all of your estate planning needs.

What is Probate?2019-04-12T21:01:08+00:00

Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s estate (the accumulated property, both real and personal an individual possesses at the time of his or her death) is administered by the State. It amounts to creating an inventory of the assets owned by a deceased person’s estate for state and federal tax purposes.

Lubinus and Merrill, P.L.C. handles estates of all sizes. Make an appointment for an initial consultation at no charge to discuss your probate options.