West Des Moines Attorneys Seek Justice in Spousal Support Orders
Overcoming court discretion to obtain fair alimony decisions
Iowa law gives family court judges tremendous discretion when deciding whether to order spousal support, how much to order and for how long. Since a decision regarding alimony could be the single greatest factor determining your future financial security, you need experienced representation from an attorney who is dedicated to delivering your best possible outcome. At the Hope Law Firm, we’ve been litigating tough divorce cases, often involving high net worth marital estates, since 2002. We’ve often been successful reaching settlement agreements to take the final decision out of the judge’s hands. But we’re prepared to fight in court if that’s what it takes to reach a fair outcome.
The court’s broad discretion in Iowa alimony cases
Under Iowa Code § 598.21A, “the court may grant an order requiring support payments to either party for a limited or indefinite length of time.” That gives the court immense power; it could grant:
- No alimony — As is often appropriate when each spouse has a career and roughly equal income
- Alimony for a set, limited period of time — Known as “rehabilitative support” for a spouse who needs time, training or education to enter or re-enter the workforce
- Alimony with no definite end-point — Traditional alimony that might result in a lifetime award is common for long-term marriage where the spouses are older.
- Alimony to repay an obligation — “Reimbursement alimony” is awarded when one spouse has supported the other’s career advancement by paying education expenses, especially for advanced degrees and professional licenses.
With such a divergence in potential outcomes, you have to make sure you’ve selected quality legal representation to present your case.
Factors an Iowa court uses to decide alimony awards
To get a fair outcome, you have to retain an attorney who understands the factors the court weighs in reaching its decision and who comes prepared with a compelling argument that advances your position. Court factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties
- The distribution of property made pursuant to section 598.21
- The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced
- The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, responsibilities for children under either an award of custody or physical care, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment
- The feasibility of the party seeking maintenance becoming self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and the length of time necessary to achieve this goal
- 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 a prenuptial agreement
- Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case
That last factor opens the door to any number of points your attorney can raise for the court to consider. At the Hope Law Firm, we have the experience to use that opening in the law to our client’s advantage, and to fight for the best possible outcome.
Choose the Hope Law Firm to help you get a fair spousal support order
Because of the court’s broad discretion in alimony cases, you either have to reach a settlement with your spouse or fight aggressively in court to win. You can rely on our experience in family law negotiation and litigation. Call the Hope Law Firm, P.L.C .at 515-255-3559 or contact our West Des Moines office online to schedule an appointment.