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Iowa Service of Process for Divorce
The Server

Process servers in Iowa are not licensed. Any person who is neither a party to the action, nor the attorney for a party to the action, may serve divorce paperwork.

Serving Process

Original notices are served by delivering a copy to the recipient. Personal service is effected upon any competent adult by receipt of his or her signed and dated acknowledgment of service.

Process may also be served at the individual's house or usual place of abode to any person residing therein who is at least 18 years old.

If the abode is a rooming house, hotel, club, or apartment building, the papers must be delivered to a member of the recipient’s family or the manager, clerk, proprietor, or custodian of such place. Process may also be served upon an individual at a place other than the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode if probable cause exists to believe that the spouse lives at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode.

After filing an affidavit that personal service cannot be had on a party in Iowa, the original notice may be served by publication, in an action to end a marriage.

Service by mail is permitted with the approval of the court. Where service includes notice by mail, proof of such mailing is an affidavit. The affidavit, with a duplicate copy of the papers referred to in the affidavit attached thereto, is filed with the court.

In every case where service of original notice is made upon a known defendant, respondent, or other party by publication, copy of the notice shall also be sent by ordinary mail addressed to such party at the party’s last-known mailing address, unless an affidavit of a party or that party’s attorney is filed stating that no mailing address is known and that diligent inquiry has been made to ascertain it.

The original notice against unknown parties shall be directed to the unknown claimants of the property involved, describing it.

After the filing of a petition, publication of the original notice shall be made once each week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county where the petition is filed. The plaintiff selects the newspaper. Before default is taken, proof of such publication, sworn to by the publisher or an employee of the newspaper, shall be filed.

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