Divorce & Alimony

Note: The following information applies exclusively to divorce and not to paternity alimony.

There are basically three types of alimony. Permanent alimony is an allowance for support and maintenance (for example clothing, shelter, food or other necessities) of a spouse. If permanent alimony is requested, it must be proven that there is a need for support and the other spouse has adequate means and the ability to provide for part or all of the need. Permanent alimony is generally reserved for long-term marriages.

Reimbursement alimony is intended for spouses who have supported their partners through years of advanced schooling, and is often paid in a lump sum amount.

Rehabilitative alimony is designed for spouses in shorter marriages who need some assistance reestablishing themselves in the job market and who have a specific vocational plan.

Alimony Considerations

Some of the possible factors that weigh on the amount and length of the support are:

  • Length of marriage
  • Time separated while still married
  • Age of the parties at the time of divorce Income of the parties
  • Future financial prospects of the parties Health of the parties
  • Fault in the marital breakdown

Alimony is taxable to the recipient and a tax deduction for the payer. In order to qualify as alimony, the payments must meet the following five criteria:

  • Payment is in cash.
  • Payment is ordered by a divorce decree.
  • The payer and the recipient do not live together
  • The alimony ends upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient

Property and Debt Division

In Iowa, all property, whenever or however acquired during the course of the marriage, with the general exception of inherited property, regardless of legal title, is subject to equitable division. “Equitable” does not mean equal. All debt acquired during the course of the marriage is also subject to equitable division between the parties.

Property and debt acquired before the marriage is generally, but not always, awarded to the person who brought the property or debt with them. Although unusual, inherited property can also be divided between the parties if that is needed to be equitable.

Courts strive for a fair division between the parties and take into consideration several factors to make that determination. These factors are set by statute, and an experienced family law attorney can guide you in interpreting the law as it applies to your individual situation.