Blogs from October, 2021

Most Recent Posts from October, 2021

Divorce When You're the Financially Dependent Spouse


When your marriage ends, it can be devastating. If you are financially dependent on your spouse and you’ve never had a job outside the home, it can financially devastating and frightening. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home spouse; you can also be the spouse who makes significantly less money. Regardless of the circumstance that make you financially dependent on your spouse, it can be scary when you are forced to face a reality where you need to make ends meet alone.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is an important provision that provides financial support to dependent or spouses unable to support themselves without help. The length of spousal support is determined by the court or by the spouses during settlement negotiations. It’s important that once either party has filed for divorce, the spouse with the lower or lack of income files for temporary support until the divorce agreement is finalized. A temporary support order can be made retroactively up to three months, and the spouse who needs support can also seek an advance of their support payments so they can secure legal counsel during the divorce.

Qualifications for Spousal Support in Iowa?

To qualify for spousal support, the filing spouse must be at an earning disadvantage to their mate. In Iowa, spousal support can be awarded if one party was at home providing unpaid services, such as a stay-at-home parent. The goal of spousal support is to give assistance to a spouse who would not be able to be financially stable without help. It can also be awarded to help a spouse to gain marketable skills so they would not need support payments.

What Factors are Important When Awarding Spousal Support?

The amount of a spousal support award is not fixed in Iowa. It is based on a myriad of factors that the court takes into consideration.

Before awarding spousal support, the court will consider:

· Length of the marriage

· Standard of living during the marriage

· Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in place

· Any other form of compensation agreement, like an agreement to pay a spouse back for funding education towards a career.

· Financial health of each spouse

· Marketability of current skills, training, or education of requesting spouse

· Earning capacity of the spouse seeking support,

· Filing spouse’s length of absence from the job market

· The custodial situation of children of the marriage

· Tax consequences of a spousal award on both parties

· Current age, physical, and mental health of each spouse

How is the Amount and Duration of Spousal support Calculated in Iowa?

A judge will review the details of the case and make a ruling regarding spousal support. The amount of the award and the length of the payments will be at the judge’s discretion.

Iowa has three types of spousal support orders:

· Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative support helps financially dependent spouses who need help becoming self-supporting. Typically, when this form of support is awarded, the court believes the facts support both spouses eventually working and being self-supporting, but it acknowledges that because of the marriage, one spouse cannot find employment to sustain their life presently.

· Traditional: Traditional support payments are for spouses who the court feels are unlikely to become gainfully employed and self-sufficient, typically due to age, health, or other reason related to the marriage.

· Reimbursement: Reimbursement support is awarded when a spouse made financial sacrifices to support the educational and career goals of their mate. It’s not common in Iowa, but when a spouse uses their income or time to support the career development of their mate with the understanding they would also benefit from their spouse’s increased income, the court can award support payment to the spouse who help fund their mate’s degree.

Choose an Experienced Des Moines Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce is hard when you are financially dependent on your spouse. The Law Office of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, is available for consultations to review your case and help you determine the merits of your support claim. You can schedule today by calling us at (515) 200-7571 or reaching out through our online contact portal.