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Overview of the Iowa Court System

There are three different courts in Iowa representing three different tiers of the court system. Each court handles a variety of responsibilities.

The lowest tier of courts is comprised of the district courts. There are eight district courts serving Iowa's 99 counties. They are the courts of general, original jurisdiction, meaning that they handle all criminal, civil, probate, family and juvenile matters through jury trials if necessary.

The middle tier of courts is known as the Court of Appeals. If a decision is made in a circuit court that either party feels is unjust or not in keeping with the law, either party may appeal that decision to the Court of Appeals, which will either uphold the lower court's decision or reverse it.

Decisions made by the Court of Appeals may be appealed to the Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort in the state. The Supreme Court is also responsible for the general administration of the court system in Iowa, including bar admission and discipline, promulgation of court standards, rules and practices, and maintaining supervisory control over court employees and judicial officers.

Iowa Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Iowa attorney by location and by practice area. We have Iowa attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

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Iowa Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Iowa legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

If you own a home or condo in Iowa, renting may be a viable option to provide additional income to help with your expenses. However, if you don't take the proper precautions, you may find your assets and legal situation in danger. LawInfo provides legally binding Indiana Residential Lease Agreement for free so you can be confident in your landlord/tenant rental agreement.

Iowa Last Will and Testament forms are also available for your use on LawInfo. Last wills are used by people to ensure that their estate passes to their descendants according to their wishes. If you pass away and don't have a legally binding Last Will and Testament, you are said to have died "intestate" and will have your possessions handled by the probate courts. With our convenient pre-written templates, organizing your estate is easy.

You can also prepare for the uncertain future with a Power of Attorney form from LawInfo. This form determines who will take over legal control of your financial, health and other legal matters in the event that you are mentally impaired or physically incapacitated and unable to do so for yourself. Filing a Power of Attorney will secure your future and ensure that you have control in the event of an accident.

Starting an Iowa Business

You can find useful information about entrepreneurship, markets and starting a business in Iowa on the Iowa Economic Development website. Once you've developed a target market and business plan, you will need to decide how to structure your business. You can go as informal as a sole proprietorship, or you can plan for future expansion as an incorporated entity or limited liability company. You then need to decide on a name for your company. Check with the Iowa Secretary of State website to make sure that your company's name is unique.

Once you've chosen a name and type of business, you will need to file the appropriate paperwork. The two main things to do are register your business and sign up for taxes. You may need to do both things a state and a local level. If you plan on hiring employees, you will have to file additional paperwork for payroll taxes.

Iowa Business Statistics

Iowa small businesses comprise 97.2 percent of all businesses in the state. They employ about 643,000 employees, or 51.3 percent of the private-sector labor force. Iowa's economy has remained strong with its unemployment rate hovering around 4.8 percent in 2013 and gross state product growth of 5.7 percent in 2011. Large companies have also done well in Iowa, with 1,769 business with more than 500 people each. Some of the notable large companies in Iowa include Fortune 500 organizations Principal Financial (PFG) and Casey's General Stores (CASY).