Iowa Property Division Factors

In Iowa, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the District Court within the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Iowa is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the District Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the District Court to be fair.

Upon the termination of any marriage, the court shall divide all property, except inherited property or gifts received by one party, equitably between the parties after considering all of the following: 1.  The length of the marriage. 2.  The property brought to the marriage by each party. 3.  The contribution of each party to the marriage, giving appropriate economic value to each party’s contribution in homemaking and child care services. 4.  The age and physical and emotional health of the parties. 5.  The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other. 6.  The earning capacity of each party 7.  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. 8.  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. 9.  Other economic circumstances of each party, including pension benefits, vested or unvested, and future interests. 10.  The tax consequences to each party. 11.  Any written agreement made by the parties concerning property distribution. 12.  The provisions of an antenuptial agreement. 13.  Other factors the court may determine to be relevant in an individual case. (Iowa Code - Sections 598.21)

Since Iowa is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Iowa property division in the Iowa state statutes located at: