Our attorneys specialize in helping families through one of life's most stressful events, a dissolution of marriage or divorce. We provide friendly, efficient and cost effective representation in dissolutions of marriage and work to resolve conflicts. We specialize in uncontested dissolutions of marriages, which means that both parties to the marriage want to work together toward a fair and equitable resolution of their financial and family issues. We encourage mediation of any disputes which the parties are not able to resolve on their own. We want to save our clients from the necessity of a contentious and costly trial if possible. If both parties are willing to work toward these goals together, we are able to provide excellent legal advice at a reasonable cost.

We also provide legal services for step parent adoptions, change of name actions, prenuptial agreements and many other family law matters. We bring our philosophy of providing friendly, efficient and cost-effective representation to all stressful family law matters.


Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations which include, but are not limited to:

    The nature of marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions; Issues that may arise during marriage such as spousal abuse, child abuse, child abduction, adoption, legitimacy, surrogacy, adultery and bigamy; The termination of the relationship and such matters including divorce, annulment, property distributions, alimony and child custody, visitation and child support awards.

Family law rules relate to both relationships between family members as well as a family and society. Family law reflects shared values by society pertaining to how people who are related should treat one another.Family law attorneys can assist people with prenuptial agreements, divorce, paternity, child custody and child support, and in some instances, adoption. When you are faced with an important decision pertaining to a family relationship, seek the legal advice of one of our experienced attorneys.

Contact a Iowa adoption lawyer representing clients in Des Moines, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.


A marriage is a relationship between or among individuals, usually recognized by civil authority and/or bound by the religious beliefs of the participants. Because marriage often has the dual nature of a binding legal contract plus a moral promise, it is often difficult to characterize.

Federal and state laws give married couples many benefits. Such benefits include:

  • Decision making powers about your spouse in case of disability
  • Claimant rights for loss of consortium (loss of interest that one spouse is entitled to receive from the other, including companionship, cooperation, affection, aid and sexual relations)
  • Certain tax advantages
  • Inheritance rights under state intestate succession laws
  • Federal benefit rights including disability, unemployment, social security, veterans' pension and public assistance benefits
  • Creating a marital estate fund
  • Receive family rates on insurance

In some instances, many couples find it advantageous to consult an attorney about entering into a premarital or prenuptial agreement. This is useful as it allows them to work through financial issues and the potential disagreements that can be created prior to marriage.

Common Law

Common law marriage is a marriage that results from the actions of a couple despite the fact that they have not obtained a marriage license or fulfilled the requirements of a state's statutory marriage laws. Typically this means that a couple has lived together for a significant period of time, while having an agreement to be married and presenting themselves to the public as husband and wife. Iowa does not stipulate the exact time period. The evidence to prove the necessary intent includes such things as sharing the same last name, filing of joint tax returns and referring to each other as husband or wife.

Iowa permits common law marriages.

In states which recognize common law marriage, once the requirements are satisfied, the marriage is treated in the exact same manner as any other marriage. Therefore, a valid common law marriage must typically be ended through a formal divorce process.

If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa divorce and child custody attorney, representing clients in Des Moines, Iowa at Howes & Anderson P.C. Give us a call at (515) 225-9000 or complete our inquiry form.