During divorce proceedings about half my clients ask whether they or their spouse is entitled to alimony. The answer is always “it depends.”
After the equitable distribution of the marital estate the court will look at the whole spectrum of property available to both spouses—the marital property divided as well as the non-marital property under each spouse’s control. If one party is left with a deficit, then a court is to consider awarding alimony. In Iowa three types of alimony are recognized-periodic, rehabilitative, and reimbursement.
Periodic alimony is a monthly payment which terminates automatically upon the death of the person paying or the death or remarriage of the receiver. It can be modified if there is a material change in circumstances—either by increasing, decreasing, or terminating it. Finally, it is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payor.
Rehabilitative alimony is typically awarded to parties who have put their career on hold while taking care of the marital home. It is meant to rehabilitate the individual into a job and become self-supporting.
Reimbursement alimony is intended as repayment to a spouse who put their partner through school where the financial rewards of the education have not materialized due to the short interval between the person obtaining the degree and the divorce.
The Court weighs other factors into its decision. Speak to a family law practitioner to see whether you qualify.