In a marriage, spouses have a legal obligation to support each other. When equity demands it, alimony is awarded as a way to continue this obligation after a marriage has dissolved. No specific formula is used to calculate the amount of alimony in a particular case, however, the courts try to award alimony in such a way that both parties can maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
In Iowa, alimony is awarded to accomplish one or more of three general purposes: rehabilitation, reimbursement, and traditional spousal support. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to help a former spouse become self-sufficient after the marriage has ended. Reimbursement alimony is compensation for economic sacrifices made by one spouse during the marriage that directly enhanced the future earning capacity of the other spouse. Traditional alimony is payable for life or for so long as a dependent spouse is incapable of self-support. The Court will consider the following factors when alimony/maintenance:
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
- The distribution of property made pursuant to subsection 1.
- 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 an antenuptial agreement.
- Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case.