Both spouses play a critical role in the marriage because each spouse makes significant contributions during the marriage. When a marriage ends, one of the spouses may not be able to make ends meet. If that is the case, the spouse may be entitled to alimony (spousal support) under Iowa law.  There are three types of alimony in Iowa: traditional; rehabilitative; and reimbursement.  Each serves a different purpose and has different criteria for establishment.

If you need to establish or modify an alimony order in Iowa, I am here to help. At Rieper Law P.C., I provide experienced legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in various family law matters, including spousal support. I serve clients in Des Moines, Iowa, Polk, Story, Warren, Dallas, Jasper, and Madison counties.



Overview of Alimony in Iowa

In Iowa, a court may award alimony to one spouse to ensure that the spouse has the financial support needed following a divorce. Iowa law recognizes three types of alimony:

  1. Traditional. This type of alimony order is usually permanent or long-term. Traditional alimony is available when a spouse cannot become financially dependent due to illnesses, age, or other circumcenters. The traditional alimony order will remain in effect indefinitely unless the circumstances change significantly.

  2. Rehabilitative. Unlike traditional spousal support, rehabilitative alimony is a temporary solution. This alimony order stays in effect until the supported spouse becomes self-supporting. This type of alimony is intended to provide the spouse with financial support until that spouse achieves financial independence.

  3. Reimbursement. This type of alimony is intended to pay back a spouse who paid for the other spouse’s education and/or career development during the marriage.  

Who Is Entitled to Alimony?

In Iowa, spousal support may be awarded to a spouse that needs financial support if the other spouse can provide payments after the dissolution of marriage. For example, alimony can be available if a spouse stayed at home with the kids during the marriage while the other spouse worked. Depending on the circumstances, alimony may be awarded either temporarily or permanently.

Determination of Type, Amount, and Duration

Judges in Iowa must consider several factors when awarding alimony to spouses upon a divorce. A judge may award traditional, rehabilitative, or reimbursement alimony when appropriate. The judge will also examine the ability of one spouse to support the soon-to-be-former spouse and the other spouse’s need for alimony.

The appropriate amount of spousal support is calculated on a case-by-case basis. There is no fixed formula to calculate alimony in Iowa. For this reason, the amount and duration of alimony are determined based on the judge’s evaluation of different factors, including, but not limited to:

  1. The duration of the marriage;

  2. The age and health of each spouse;

  3. The distribution of property in the divorce;

  4. The spouses’ earning capacity and educational levels;

  5. The spouses’ contributions during the marriage; and

  6. A variety of other factors.

You must speak with an alimony attorney to help you understand what to expect during your divorce case. At Rieper Law, P.C., we assist clients with alimony matters in Warren, Madison, Jasper, Polk, Dallas, or Story counties, Iowa.

Making Changes to a
Current Alimony Agreement

When awarding alimony after the dissolution of marriage, Iowa courts consider many factors to ensure that the order will be effective and manageable for both parties in the long term. However, circumstances may change after a while, making it necessary to seek changes to the current alimony order.

Common reasons to modify an alimony order in Iowa include:

  • Relocation

  • Loss of a job

  • Cohabitation

  • Re-Marriage

  • Retirement

  • The birth of a new child

  • Changes in health

  • Disability

  • Changes in income

Under Iowa law, the party requesting changes to an alimony agreement must demonstrate proof of a substantial change in circumstances.


Seeking a divorce involves many complexities. One is determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to alimony. You must contact an experienced alimony attorney in Des Moines, Iowa, to receive legal guidance on spousal maintenance in your specific case. As an experienced alimony attorney at Rieper Law P.C., I assist clients with various family law matters, including spousal support. I serve clients in Polk, Story, Warren, Dallas, Jasper, and Madison counties, Iowa.