Blogs from December, 2020

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How Long Do I Need to Pay Alimony for?


Understanding Your Financial Obligation to Your Ex

Iowa typically treats spousal support as a rehabilitative tool for spouses who earn significantly less than their partners. By awarding alimony, courts give these spouses with lower earning potential a chance to stay afloat while getting the education or training necessary to become self-sufficient. The duration of this financial award will vary significantly with each case.

Types of Spousal Support

There are three types of spousal support which may be awarded in Iowa divorces. Spouses could receive:

  • Traditional alimony: Indefinite financial assistance due to one spouse’s inability to become self-sufficient, whether because of old age, illness, or some other limiting circumstance.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: Temporary assistance provided to spouses who are able to become self-sufficient, but simply need some help affording the training and education necessary to get there.
  • Reimbursement alimony: Short-term assistance designed to repay a spouse who contributed to the other’s career development.

The judge ruling on your divorce will set the term for spousal support with the duration varying in each case. Some traditional alimony is calculated following the formula of awarding one year of alimony for every three years of marriage.

While traditional alimony can be ordered indefinitely, certain actions can end it prematurely.

When Alimony Could Be Terminated

The judge may have awarded permanent alimony to the supported spouse, but the name can be somewhat misleading. Spousal support could be terminated if:

  • - The supported spouse remarries
  • - The supported spouse moves in with another party
  • - Either party dies

Even if not ended completely, alimony could be modified so long as there is no formal agreement between a couple preventing spousal support from being revisited and reworked. In order for a revision to be justified, there must have been a substantial change in circumstances that makes the agreement as it currently stands unfair and unsustainable. Such a change could be:

  • - A change in employment by either spouse
  • - A change in either spouse’s income or earning potential
  • - A change in either or both spouse’s needs and health
  • - Remarriage
  • - A change in either spouse’s residence

Our lawyers can help you with any questions you have regarding establishing, modifying, or terminating your alimony obligations. Contact us today for help with your case: (515) 200-7571.