Are you getting divorced in Iowa and believe you are entitled to spousal support? This is definitely a conversation you should have with your family law attorney as soon as you are able during the divorce proceedings. Spousal support, which was known as alimony in the past, is not awarded as frequently in any of the states as it used to be. There is a certain expectation among judges today that both spouses should be able to financially support themselves. However, there are times when this is not possible. There are other factors that may come into play in awarding spousal support, as well. If you meet the criteria, there is a chance you may get a spousal support award.
Here are the three main things you need to know about spousal support in Iowa before going into court to ask for it.
1. There Are Three Different Types of Spousal Support Awarded In Iowa
If spousal support is being considered in your divorce case, you may be awarded one of three different types that are available in Iowa. According to DivorceNet.com, these types are:
- Temporary--This is spousal support that is awarded just while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. It ends when the divorce is final. It is meant to give the requesting spouse a chance to get their finances together enough to support themselves when the divorce is finalized.
- Short-Term--This is support that is awarded until the requesting spouse is able to obtain employment that allows them to be self-supporting. This often means the support is paid while the requesting spouse goes back to school, updates their skills, or gets training to become employed. Sometimes, the paying spouse may also be required to pay for the schooling of the requesting spouse in addition to paying spousal support payments. The support ends when the requesting spouse becomes self-supporting.
- Permanent--This is usually awarded to a spouse who is not expected to be able to become self-supporting. This could be due to age, disability, or having a young child at home who is not yet in school. Permanent support awards are rare, and are reviewed periodically by the court to make sure the spouse receiving payments remains unable to support themselves.
2. The Amount of a Spousal Support Award Depends on a Variety of Factors
When the court decides to award spousal support, it will look at a variety of factors in determining how much to award. Some of the factors the court will look at include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of both spouses
- The financial resources of the requesting spouse (including property owned)
- The ability of the other spouse to pay while still being able to support themselves
- The standard of living of the requesting spouse during the marriage
- The tax burden of such an award on both spouses
- Any prenuptial or antenuptial agreements between the spouses
- The education levels of both spouses
3. Spousal Support Awards Are Periodically Reviewed By the Court
All spousal support awards, even permanent ones, are periodically reviewed by the court. If the financial circumstances of the receiving spouse are found to have changed for the better, the support award will be revoked. The paying spouse may request such a review if they know their ex's circumstances have changed.
Changes that can result in revoking a spousal support award of any kind include the remarriage of the receiving spouse, or if the receiving spouse gets an inheritance, wins the lottery, is being supported by someone else, has fewer dependents than when the support was ordered, or becomes employed.
While spousal support awards are rare these days, they are still sometimes given by the courts. Ask your family law attorney if you have a good case for getting spousal support. If your chances are good, your attorney will put together a strong case for you to make sure you get the money you deserve.