One task for the court to perform at a dissolution trial is the division of property between the parties.
This task is guided by Iowa Code Section 598.21. The primary factors are the following:
- The length of the marriage.
- The property brought to the marriage by each party.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, giving appropriate economic value to each party’s contribution in homemaking and child care services.
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
- The contribution by one party to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other.
- The earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training,employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
- The desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live in the family home for a reasonable period to the party having custody of the children, or if the parties have joint legal custody, to the party having physical care of the children.
- The amount and duration of an order granting support payments to either party pursuant to section 598.21A and whether the property division should be in lieu of such payments.
- Other economic circumstances of each party, including pension benefits, vested or unvested. Future interests may be considered, but expectancies or interests arising from inherited or gifted property created under a will or other instrument under which the trustee, trustor, trust protector, or owner has the power to remove the party in question as a beneficiary, shall not be considered.
- The tax consequences to each party.
- Any written agreement made by the parties concerning property distribution.
- The provisions of an ante-nuptial agreement.
- Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case.
Unlike child support orders, which can be modified, property division orders are not subject to modification later if the circumstances of the parties change. Iowa Code Section 598.21(7)
In many circumstances, property received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance, may not be subject to division. Iowa Code Section 598.21(6)
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