Going through a divorce is a challenging experience, no matter whether the parties both support the end of the marriage or not. Knowing what to expect can make the process easier to navigate, especially when it comes to the division of property. The team at Hall Law Firm offer this information in the hopes of clarifying the manner in which Iowa law approaches property division in divorce.
What does it mean to be an “equitable distribution” state?
Iowa uses an equitable distribution model to divide property during divorce. It’s important to understand that the term “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” Equitable distribution seeks to divide property in a manner that is fair to both parties.
All property held by the parties is subject to division under the rules of equitable distribution. This includes property brought into the marriage by either party, as well as property obtained during the marriage.
The exception is property you might have received through an inheritance. Inherited property and gifts received can be set aside from the property division process if the proper procedures are taken care of.
How is property division determined?
There are many different factors taken into consideration during the division of marital property. What is not factored into the process is the issue of which part may be at fault for the end of the marriage.
Contribution of parties
The contribution each spouse made toward acquiring partial property is closely examined during division. This not only includes work done to earn property, but also contributions that support the household, like childcare or household management.
Value of property brought into the marriage
Another consideration is the value of any property either spouse brought into the marriage and how that property enhanced the family’s financial health.
The manner and degree to which one party contributed to the other’s training, education, or increased earning capacity will also guide how property is distributed.
The length of the marriage factors into how property is to be divided, with longer unions usually having a more equal division of assets than short marriages.
Age and health issues
The age of each spouse and his or her health also comes under examination. Younger people and healthy people have more time left to build wealth within the workforce than those who are older or struggling with health issues.
The degree to which each party can support themselves after the marriage dissolves is also a matter of consideration when dividing property. The time it would take for a spouse to get the training or education needed to be financially stable is also examined.
The financial ramifications of taxation sometimes plays a big role in how property will be divided. An effort is made to offset tax losses with a greater share of marital property.
If there are any prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements in place, the details of those contracts become part of the property division process.
If alimony is part of the divorce negotiations, property division might be structured to ensure fairness in light of those payments.
The financial health of each spouse as an individual is also taken into consideration. If one spouse has a pension or other source of wealth, adjustments in property division might be made.
If there are minor children within the family, the division of property will also focus on whether the spouse who retains primary custody should receive the family home as part of the property division process. Child support payments are also factored into the way that property is divided between spouses.
What is the best way to move forward with property division during divorce?
One thing you can do to make the property division process easier is to gather all documentation possible regarding family finances. This includes deeds, titles, investment information, wage and earnings statements, savings, and even items of high value. If there is property that falls under the umbrella of gifts or inheritance, thorough documentation will help your legal team work on your behalf to protect that wealth.
Property division is often the most stressful aspect of an Iowa divorce. Knowing what to expect and taking an active role in the process can make it far easier to move through this process and into the next phase of your life. Financial security is essential to moving on, and the team at Hall Law Firm works hard to ensure that clients emerge from a broken marriage in strong financial health.
Reach out today with any questions or concerns about the property division process. You’ll learn what to expect as well as the steps you can take to ensure a fair and favorable outcome to your divorce process.