How Is Alimony in Iowa Awarded to a Spouse During a Divorce?

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By Divorce & Finance

Iowa spousal maintenanceFor a spouse getting divorced and facing financial hardship, alimony in Iowa can be an option. This can allow you to receive support to get on your feet after a life-changing event. However, the Iowa alimony laws can be difficult to interpret.

This is the reason you want to read on and find out more about Iowa divorce laws.

What Is Iowa Spousal Maintenance?

When there is a dissolution of marriage between a couple in Iowa, it is possible to file for spousal maintenance. This is another name that is often used for alimony and it simply means that a dependent spouse is able to receive payments from their partner after the divorce.

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to allow a partner to survive on their own if they have been provided for by their ex-spouse. An alimony payment can be in regular installments to the person or it can be in a lump sum. This is something that will be decided in court and depend on what is going to work best for the couple going through a legal separation.

Each partner is going to put their own case forward in court. This can involve sharing evidence that they should receive a certain amount of money or that they should only pay a specific sum. Alimony can be awarded to a husband or wife.

Is There a Set Duration of Time for Alimony?

There is no mandatory duration for alimony payments between spouses. How long alimony is going to be paid for will depend on the unique circumstances of the couple getting divorced. The duration will be part of the decision made by the family court judge in Iowa.

However, a judge does not just choose a couple of months or years for alimony payments randomly. Instead, they often consider the length of the marriage and the personal details of the couple. Awards of permanent alimony are also not uncommon.

Alimony payments can be stopped depending on future circumstances. For example, if the spouse receiving alimony remarries in the future, this is going to end the payments they receive from their ex-partner.

What Factors Does a Judge in Iowa Consider for Alimony?

A family court judge is going to follow certain factors when they are deciding how much alimony to award a spouse. It is important that they only pay attention to these factors as they are written in the Iowa Code as law.

A lot of the factors are concerning the lifestyle of the spouses and what was apparent during the marriage. Here are some of those factors:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of the spouses
  • The physical and mental health of each person
  • The share of the property
  • The education and employment of the spouses
  • Child support and responsibilities
  • The tax consequences of alimony for a spouse
  • Financial agreements that exist between the spouses
  • If the financially weaker spouse has the skills and experience to be self-supporting

It is important to note that the Iowa Code states that “any other relevant factor’”can be considered by the family court judge. Thus, if the judge believes some other aspect of the spouses’ lifestyle has a meaning for the calculation of alimony, they can keep that in mind.

Spousal Support Iowa: How Does a Judge Calculate It?

Calculation of alimony in iowaSome states have an alimony formula that allows for the calculation of payments. But this is not something that exists in Iowa. Instead, a family court judge is going to be the one that decides on the alimony that will be awarded to a spouse. There is no calculation to follow and they will use their discretion to work out the payments.

A lot of people like that alimony is decided on a case-by-case basis since this can allow everyone’s different circumstances to be taken into account. It can be more of a personal alimony award that takes into account the personal and lifestyle situation of a couple and allows those standards to be maintained despite divorce.

Remember that alimony is not an automatic right. This means that a judge can also choose to not award any alimony in a case. Therefore, it can be difficult to work out the average spousal support in Iowa and everyone is going to receive a different payment to reflect their situation.

Does a Partner Cheating Affect Alimony in Iowa?

One of the leading causes of divorce in the United States is infidelity. If you were unfaithful during your marriage, it might worry that these actions will affect the alimony you receive or have to pay out. The good news is that adultery will not play a part in awards of alimony in any direct way.

In Iowa, there is such a thing as no-fault divorce. This means that you do not have to prove fault in order to be granted a divorce in the state. Thus, when you are getting a divorce, a judge does not consider the behavior of either party in the couple. In particular, an alimony award is about supporting the other spouse and their actions cannot be punished.

However, note that it is possible for adultery to play a part in alimony in an indirect way. For instance, an affair can affect property division and how much of the estate they receive. Thus, it may mean that alimony changes as a result of this.

Is Custodial Status Important in Determining Alimony?

When we talk about custodial status, we are referring to the person who has custody of the children from the marriage. This is a factor that is important for deciding on the amount of alimony a spouse will receive. Namely, a mother or father that looks after the children and lives with them will likely receive a higher amount of alimony.

The purpose of higher payments is so that the spouse is able to provide for the children. They should not suffer from the divorce of the parents and alimony is adjusted to reflect this. They will receive the right amount of financial support for their education, well-being and to reflect the life they had during their parent’s marriage.

Is Standard of Living a Consideration for Alimony Payments?

The lifestyle and stand of living a couple enjoys during their marriage will be part of an alimony award consideration. The purpose of spousal support is to allow a disadvantaged partner to carry on having a good standard of living like they had in their marriage. Therefore, the payments they receive will reflect this.

What Do Alimony Laws in Iowa Say About Unpaid Installments?

If a partner does not pay the alimony award as they have been advised to by a family court judge, there can be serious consequences. A debt will start to accrue, which is called alimony arrears. The spouse that has not been paid is able to bring this matter forward to a small claims court. In addition, mediation can be sought between ex-partners.

The spouse will have to pay the alimony arrears. In addition, they may face a contempt of court charge since they have not complied with what a judge has decided. This can mean facing a financial penalty and getting into trouble with the law, which is the last thing you want.


Alimony is available for a spouse during a divorce in Iowa. There are several types of alimony that can be awarded and the judge will decide the best route to go down for the specific situation. Let’s summarize everything we have covered in this article.

  • Alimony in iowaAn award of alimony means a dependent spouse can receive financial help from their partner after a divorce.
  • Payments are designed to allow that spouse to maintain a similar standard of living despite the divorce.
  • The duration of alimony will depend on the circumstances and it can vary from case to case.
  • Permanent alimony is possible if the spouse is very dependent.
  • If someone dies or remarries, alimony payments can stop.
  • The Iowa Code defines factors for family court judges to take into account when awarding alimony. For example, the length of the marriage, age and health of the spouse and share of the property can be considered.
  • Adultery is not a factor in alimony awards since there are no-fault divorces in Iowa.
  • Custody of the children can impact alimony payments.
  • There is no set formula for alimony in Iowa and every judge can award what they think is fair and reasonable in a case.
  • Alimony arrears is a debt that occurs when a spouse does not pay alimony to their partner.
  • It is best to avoid alimony arrears since this can lead to a civil case and lead to a contempt of court charge.
  • A contempt of court charge can mean a financial penalty or a jail sentence for the paying spouse.

Therefore, judges in Iowa do their best to award alimony in a way that is going to help a spouse after divorce. But they will also take into account all of the circumstances and the effect that will have on the paying spouse. Every case is going to depend on its own facts and payments will differ accordingly.

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