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What Determines Alimony in Iowa?

Is Alimony Required in Iowa?

The purpose of alimony (also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance) is to provide the individual awarded alimony the necessary financial support they need post-divorce. When the courts order alimony, the party ordered to pay support is legally required to do so. Failure to comply with court-ordered spousal support can result in the courts taking enforcement actions, such as wage garnishment and withholding of tax returns.

The three types of alimony in Iowa are:

  • Rehabilitative
  • Reimbursement
  • Permanent

While a court order for alimony is legally binding, this does not mean that alimony is automatically awarded in Iowa. Many factors will determine whether one spouse is awarded spousal support, and every divorce case will be different. In some cases, rehabilitative alimony may be granted temporarily to help one spouse get back on their feet after a divorce, while in other cases, it may be awarded permanently.

Factors that are considered when determining alimony include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • How each party contributed to the marriage
  • The income level and earning capacity of both parties
  • The educational level of each party
  • The age, health, and any special needs of each party
  • Whether one spouse was a stay-at-home spouse or parent

To learn more about different types of alimony in Iowa, review our blog here.

Can Alimony Be Modified?

Typically, when making alimony decisions, the courts do their best to make equitable decisions and which will be effective in the long term. However, as time goes by, circumstances do change, and sometimes these changes necessitate an adjustment or modification of the original order. Iowa law does allow for the modification of alimony when necessary.

Common reasons for seeking an alimony modification include:

  • Retirement
  • Relocation
  • Change in employment or income
  • Changes in health, including disability
  • Remarriage
  • The birth of a new child
  • A new dependent

When requesting a modification in spousal support, it is important to remember that the courts will only consider the amendment if the change in circumstances is significant and lasting. A short-term issue typically will not qualify as substantial enough to warrant a change to the original alimony order. Similarly, not agreeing with the alimony order is not considered a legitimate reason for a modification.

What to Do If You Are Struggling to Make Alimony Payments

As mentioned previously, alimony orders are legally binding and must be followed. If you are having trouble making alimony payments, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You want to avoid missing alimony payments as this can have serious consequences. It is also important that you continue to comply with your existing alimony order throughout the modification process and until a new order is issued.

How Do I Seek Enforcement of Alimony in Iowa?

If you were awarded spousal support in your divorce and your former spouse is not complying with the order, you can seek enforcement through the courts. Before requesting enforcement, you should reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer to help you with the process. Working with a skilled attorney, like ours at Hope Law Firm, can help increase your chances of a positive outcome, and your lawyer can help you navigate the complicated court processes.

For help with an alimony case, reach out to our law firm. Our attorneys are highly experienced and prepared to help you today.