Property and Debt Division in an Iowa Divorce
(How property and debts are divided in divorce.)
Iowa is an "equitable property" state. This means that all marital property acquired during the marriage should be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. The court begins by presuming that an equitable distribution is an equal distribution. The "marital" property, consisting of any other property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, will be divided equally, unless the court finds that equal division would be unjust. Courts will also protect and promote the best interests of children of the parties and may set aside a portion of the parties' property in a separate fund for the support, maintenance, education, or general welfare of the couple's minor children. (IA 598.22D) Any property possessed by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be marital property unless it can be shown that the property is actually separate property. Gifts and inheritances to one party, for example, may be property that is considered as separate from marital property. A court can determine the rights of the spouses in any pension or retirement plan or their rights under any insurance policy. A number of factors affect how the division of property will be determined, such as:
Approaches to Dividing Property in Divorce
It is wise for a divorcing couple to determine how to divide their property and debts themselves, when they can, rather than leave it to the judge. But, if a couple cannot agree, the alternate method is to submit their property dispute to the court, which will use state law and its best judgment as a guide to divide the property.
Division of property does not necessarily mean a physical division. Rather, the court awards each spouse a percentage of the total value of the property. It is illegal for either spouse to hide assets in order to shield them from property division. Each spouse gets items whose worth adds up to his or her percentage.
How do we distinguish between marital and non-non-marital property?
Very generally, following are the rules for determining marital and non-marital property:
Who gets to live in the house during the divorce?
If you don't have children and the house is the separate property of just one spouse, that spouse has the legal right to the property. If, however, you have no children and own the house jointly, Iowa offers parties the option of going to court for a Temporary Decree setting forth the rights and responsibilities of both parties as relates to their financial assets and liabilities. The Temporary Decree remains in effect during the remainder of the divorce proceedings, until the judge issues the final decree.
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