August 30, 2013. Spousal support, commonly called “alimony” is a stipend paid to a spouse in lieu of the other spouse’s legal obligation to support. In Iowa, there is no formula to calculate the amount of spousal support appropriate in a particular case. The court will look at several factor to determine whether spousal support is appropriate, and if so, how much and for what duration. The court will consider the following factors:
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
- The distribution of property.
- The educational level of each party.
- The earning capacity of the party seeking support.
- The feasibility of the party seeking support becoming self-supporting to at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage,
- The tax consequences to each party.
- Any mutual agreement made by the parties concerning financial or service contributions by one party with the expectation of future reciprocation or compensation by the other party.
- The provisions of an antenuptial agreement.
- Other factors the court may determine to be relevant.
There are three types of spousal support granted by the court. The first type is traditional support which is generally awarded after a long marriage when one spouse has been dependent on the earning efforts of the other spouse, has a mental or physical disability, does not have the ability to become self-sufficient, or has a substantially lower earning capacity.
The next type of spousal support is rehabilitative support. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony was to support an economically dependent spouse through a limited period of re-education or training following a divorce. This would create an incentive and opportunity for that spouse to become self-supporting.
The last type of spousal support is reimbursement support. An example of where this type of support is warranted is when one spouse assisted the other to obtain an advanced degree that will generate a significant increase in earnings, then, soon after earning the degree, a divorce occurs. This type of spousal support is predicated on the economic sacrifices made by one souse during the marriage that directly enhanced the future earning capacity of the other.