In Iowa divorces, the court can order spousal support (a.k.a. alimony) to an ex-spouse if the ex-spouse can demonstrate financial need. Spousal support will be ordered in the divorce decree and generally takes the form of a monthly payment to the lower earning spouse. Whereas child support is more of a black and white calculation based off parents’ incomes, spousal support is more of a subjective determination. In deciding to set spousal support and how much to set spousal support for, a judge will look at the following factors that are listed in Iowa Code 598.21A:
1. The length of the marriage.
2. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
3. The distribution of property made in the divorce.
4. The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.
5. The earning capacity of the party seeking support.
6. The feasibility of the party seeking maintenance becoming self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and the length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
7. The tax consequences to each party.
8. Any mutual agreement made by the parties concerning financial or service contributions by one party with the expectation of future reciprocation or compensation by the other party.
9. The provisions of a prenuptial agreement.
10. Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case.
Previous court cases can be helpful to the parties in attempting to determine how much spousal support a judge will likely order. Judges will look at previous cases as precedent, and oftentimes make a decision based in part on similar cases.
There are different types of spousal support that can be ordered by a judge, including:
The type of spousal support will be determined by the exact circumstances of each case. As the circumstances of each divorce are unique, it is often hard to predict with great certainty what a court may order for spousal support. Additionally, it is important to note that spousal support orders may end on a date certain or on the remarriage of the spouse receiving benefits. Also, if spousal support was initially ordered, it can be modified later if there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties.Due to the fact that spousal support can be a somewhat subjective determination, it is advisable for parties to a divorce to consult with an attorney to discuss the various factors a judge will ultimately consider.
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