A: There are resources available to help you. For starters, the Iowa Judicial Branch has forms available for folks to represent themselves. Link: http://www.iowacourts.gov/For_the_Public/Representing_Yourself_in_Court/DivorceFamily_Law/Forms/index.asp Also, the Iowa State Bar Association has a number of programs and associations available. Link: http://www.iowabar.org/?LegalAssistance Also, Iowa Legal Aid has the Volunteer Lawyers Program that connects pro bono lawyers with folks needing assistance. Link: http://www.iowalegalaid.org/volunteer-lawyers-projects
A: The procedure for a 'Default' (wherein the other person doesn't file an answer within 20 days after being served the Petition and Original Notice), is found in the Civil Procedure Rules. Here is a link to those Rules: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ACO/CR/LINC/04-28-2017.chapter.1.pdf Take a look specifically at Rules 1.971 - 1.977.
A: Your step-mother may, or may not, be able to take the items that are listed in yours and his names. It depends on when the item was purchased, and how title to that items got into your and his names. If the item was purchased before he and your stepmother were married, then it is 'pre-marital' property, and he will get to retain that item.
There are many things involved in preparing to dissolve a marriage. Your father should seek the advice of an attorney about specific items in question. That attorney will be able to not only answer your father's questions, but also help him plan for the separation and dissolution of marriage action.