Waterloo, Iowa Family Law Attorneys Fight for Fair Child and Spousal Support

Enforcing Iowa child support and alimony rules

The experienced family law attorneys at Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. understand the turbulent undercurrents in child support and spousal support disputes. Whether you are being shortchanged or taken to the cleaners, we stand up for your right to be treated fairly throughout the process. We have provided sound legal advice to residents of Waverly, Waterloo and the surrounding areas for more than 60 years, and we can help you navigate the family court system so you can get on with your life.

How is child support calculated in Iowa?

Parents in Iowa have a legal obligation to support their children until they either graduate from high school or reach age 19. The amount of a parent’s child support obligation is determined by applying the uniform child support guidelines prescribed by the Iowa Supreme Court to the family’s theoretical combined income. The stated purpose of the guidelines is to provide for the best interests of the children by recognizing the duty of both parents to provide adequate support for their children in proportion to their respective incomes.

Exceptions include providing for a child beyond age 19 who is physically or mentally disabled. Likewise, a court may deviate from the guidelines if an adjustment is necessary to provide for the needs of the children and to do justice to both parties under the special circumstances of individual cases. A knowledgeable attorney at a divorce law firm can help you understand if adjustments to the guidelines apply in your case.

How much spousal support can I get, or do I have to pay?

Receiving alimony is not an automatic right like child support. The court looks at each case individually to see if alimony should be awarded. Either spouse can request spousal support when filing for divorce. The amount of spousal support and whether support is needed at all depend on several factors, such as availability of resources, duration of the marriage, age, health and earning ability. There is no definite formula or minimum or maximum amount that can be awarded for spousal support in Iowa. Rather, each case turns on its specific circumstances.

Can I change a support order?

A Waterloo divorce lawyer can help you ask the court to modify a support order if there is a substantial change of circumstances. When determining whether a substantial change of circumstances has occurred, the court considers various factors, such as:

  • Changes in the employment, earning capacity, income or resources of a party
  • Receipt of an inheritance, pension or other gift
  • Changes in the medical expenses of a party
  • Changes in the number or needs of dependents of a party
  • Changes in the physical, mental or emotional health of a party
  • Changes in the residence of a party
  • Remarriage of a party
  • Possible support of the party by another person
  • Changes in the physical, mental or educational needs of a child
  • Contempt by a party of existing orders

Get dependable advice from compassionate attorneys

Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. provides dynamic legal representation for spouses in divorce. Serving the Waterloo and Waverly area for more than 60 years, we deliver reliable results with personal care tailored to your needs.


Waterloo and Waverly, IA Family Law Attorneys Discuss Division of Assets in Divorce

Experienced divorce lawyers in Iowa tailoring solutions to protect your future

Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. takes the time to listen and understand your concerns when it comes to dividing assets in divorce. We provide compassionate legal representation at each stage of the proceedings, from the first time you meet with us, to discuss your needs. With offices in Waverly and Waterloo, our caring attorneys and staff help minimize the stress and anxiety of your divorce while delivering the best results possible in your case. We can be your legal problem-solvers.

Is my prenuptial or postnuptial agreement valid?

Prenuptial agreements are also known as premarital agreements. Iowa law says that a premarital agreement is not enforceable if the person against whom enforcement is sought proves any of the following:

  • The person did not execute the agreement voluntarily.
  • The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed.
  • Before the execution of the agreement, the person was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other spouse; and the person did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other spouse.

If a provision of the agreement or the application of the provision to a party is found by the court to be unenforceable, the provision is stricken from the remainder of the agreement and does not affect the remaining provisions.

Iowa courts also enforce postnuptial or postmarital agreements to the extent that they amount to valid contracts that do not contradict the law. A postnuptial agreement cannot alter a spouse’s right to seek an elective share of the marital estate if the other spouse dies.

Our experienced divorce lawyers at Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. review your premarital and postmarital agreements and advise you as to their validity and enforceability.

What are Iowa’s rules for dividing property in a divorce?

Iowa is an equitable distribution state. Equitable means fair, but not necessarily equal. Courts consider a number of factors to decide who should receive each asset in a divorce, including:

  • 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 childcare services
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties
  • The contribution of one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other
  • The earning capacity of each party
  • 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 and whether the property division should be in lieu of such payments
  • Other economic circumstances of each party, including any separate estate, pension benefits, vested or unvested, and future interests
  • The tax consequences to each party
  • Any written agreement made by the parties concerning property distribution
  • The provisions of an antenuptial or postmarital agreement, if any
  • Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case

Call our award-winning law firm for dependable advice

Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. provides steadfast legal representation for divorce. Serving the Waterloo and Waverly area for more than 60 years, we deliver reliable results with personalized care tailored to your situation.


Award-Winning Divorce Lawyers in Waterloo, Iowa Tailor Legal Representation to Meet Your Needs

Serving Waterloo and Waverly, Iowa

Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. provides personalized legal representation for every step in obtaining your dissolution of marriage or divorce. Our attorneys are highly esteemed and have years of experience practicing law right here in Waterloo and the surrounding areas. We have an established reputation for success, and we won’t back down from a legal battle. We collaborate with you and strive to keep you informed of the status of your case so you can rest assured that your rights are being protected.

What are the different types of divorce in Iowa?

The term “dissolution of marriage” is legally synonymous with divorce. Iowa recognizes no fault divorce, which means that all it takes to get divorce is evidence of a breakdown of the relationship showing that there is no likelihood that it can be preserved. Whether you expect to get a no fault divorce or a fault-based divorce, if alimony is going to be an issue, consult an experienced Iowa spousal support attorney for guidance to protect your rights and your assets.

Contested issues in divorce

Couples frequently try to minimize legal battles by using prenuptial and postnuptial or antenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements are signed before the parties wed, while postnuptial or antenuptial agreements are signed after the wedding. People are sometimes surprised, however, to learn that their prenups and postnups are not entirely enforceable.

If the parties cannot reach a settlement, a court decides how the children and property are to be divided. A qualified Iowa child custody lawyer can help you build a case for custody of your children. Other issues a court decides include:

  • Child visitation
  • Child support
  • Payment of medical expenses and other expenses related to the child
  • Division of marital assets and liabilities, including 401k plans or other retirement accounts
  • Alimony, or spousal support

Custody and support issues are often hotly contested, along with the necessary division of assets. Our Waterloo divorce attorneys collaborate with you well in advance of trial to decide which discovery tools best fit the circumstances of your case and your budget. Iowa law provides a number of tools for pretrial discovery of evidence:

  • Written interrogatories
  • Depositions
  • Subpoenas duces tecum
  • Requests for production of documents
  • Requests for admissions

When is mediation a better alternative?

Whenever parties can reach an amicable agreement without going to court, they and their children are inevitably better off. Protracted litigation can be costly and emotionally exhausting, leaving bitter scars where love once resided. Mediation is a more peaceful, cost-effective alternative to litigation and is often successful when parties agree to engage in mediation with a good faith intention to work toward a compromise.

How long does it take to get divorced in Iowa?

A judge may require parties to participate in conciliation efforts for a period of 60 days. Iowa law requires a 90-day waiting period from the date a petition is served before the court may enter a final decree. Under certain circumstances, the court may waive the waiting period.