500 Willow Avenue Suite 409 Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503 712-256-2778
500 Willow AvenueSuite 409Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503712-256-2778

Frequently Asked Questions

I am able to help my clients in a variety of Civil and Criminal matters. Below are a few examples of cases with which I can assist you.  Remember, our first meeting is free.  Call to schedule an appointment, and see how I can help you. 


Criminal Matters
I work hard for every client, making sure that their rights are protected at every stage of the criminal process; arrest through sentencing.  It is my aim to resolve the matter quickly and efficiently; to make sure that an error in judgment becomes a lesson learned.

"I got an OWI, what's next?"
The first step in the legal process is called an "Initial Appearance."  During this appearance in Court, the Judge will explain your charges and the maximum fines and jail time you could be facing.  The judge will also schedule your next court date.  Hiring an attorney is now an important next step.  Your attorney may be able to attend later court dates on your behalf.  I am able to work with my clients to potentially reduce any fines or jail time. 

Drug Charges
Like an OWI, the first step in the legal process, after you have been arrested, is called an "Initial Appearance."  The Judge will explain your charges and the maximum possible consequences for your offense, including prison time and fines.  It is important to know that, even after an arrest, you have rights that must be protected.  Hiring an attorney can ensure that you and your rights get the full attention and respect necessary. 

Civil Matters
I endeavor to work with every client to resolve these matters as quickly and smoothly as possible.  Often families are involved in civil matters, charging the situation with emotion.  When possible, I aim to keep every matter amicable between the parties in an attempt to preserve the relationships that may be affected by the case.

In life, people and circumstances can change at a moment's notice.  These changes can lead to the break-up of any marriage.  Working with all parties involved in the matter can make this process smoother for the families touched by the separation.

Iowa, Nebraska & the "No Fault" State
In Iowa and Nebraska, the Courts do not assign fault in the process of dissolving a marriage.  As such, if one party has committed an act outside the marriage, or some violent act against the other party, the Court will not consider these factors when dissolving the marriage.  While these states are "No Fault" Divorce states, matters addressed in the petition and answer may have an effect on other issues in the dissolution, including matters concerning support and minor children involved in the dissolution.

Filing for a Divorce
    "I want a Divorce.  What should I do first?"
The first step in getting a divorce is to file the initial petition (in Iowa) or complaint (in Nebraska).  This document outlines that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship and includes requests you would like to make of the Court.  You must then give official notice of the filing to your spouse.  This is often called "service" or "service of process" and can be accomplished through your spouses voluntary acceptance of the documents, service by the sheriff or a service company, or through publication.  The state in which you are filing will have different preferences for service of process.  The divorce will not be final until a judge signs and files the Decree.  The Decree is the legal document that finalizes the divorce proceeding.
    "My Spouse has Filed for Divorce, Now What?"
Once a Petition/Complaint has been filed, you, as the Respondent, have been served, you have a set amount of time to file an "Answer" to the petition.  The Answer addresses each claim in the petition and includes a list of requests you have for the Court to consider.  The divorce will not be final until a judge signs and files the Decree.  The Decree is the legal document that finalizes the divorce proceeding.

Points to Consider:
- When children are involved in the Dissolution, things can become a bit more complicated and the Courts have requirements that must be met before a Decree can be entered. 
- Mediation may also be necessary before the court can schedule a trial date.
- Whether you are the party filing or being served, consulting an attorney may be helpful to answer your questions and help plan a strategy for your case.

"When do I need a Will?"
Your Last Will and Testament provides guidance for your friends and family should anything happen to you.  It helps your loved ones carry out your final wishes for your assets.  Further, documents like a Durable Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you are not able to do so yourself.  These documents are helpful to everyone, regardless your situation.

"I have damages that I want to recover.  Is Small Claims right for me?"

In Iowa, Small Claims court is the venue where lawsuits regarding damages of less than $5000.00 can be heard.  The limit in Nebraska is $3500.00.  From accident damage to past due rent, Small Claims is a catch-all for anyone looking to recover money damages.  An attorney can help you evaluate your claims, and present a clear and concise argument to the Court.

Contact and Appointments

O'Bannon Law, P.C.

500 Willow Avenue

Suite 409

Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503











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