Divorce and Family Law News: Now or Later: Preserving Your Fair Share of Assets
How is marital property divided in Iowa?
Prospective clients worry about preserving their fair share of marital assets. These worries are legitimate, as divorcing spouses often spend money on large assets such as vehicles, boats, designer dogs, and jewelry. Other times spouses attempt to hide money by moving investments and bank deposits around. While Iowa courts have a long history of equitably dividing all property owned by two spouses at the time of the divorce, equal division is not required. Plus, the courts need to know what assets the parties actually own. In an attempt to quell one spouse’s thoughts about dissipating marital assets, an order to preserve assets could serve divorce litigants quite well.
My spouse is spending too much money and how can I stop it?
Generally, while divorce actions remain ongoing, spouses continue spending money on a multitude of items such as legitimate household expenses and business needs. If one spouse has a genuine concern or knowledge of irresponsible spending or incurring of debt by their soon-to-be former spouse, the worried spouse has the ability to file an application for order to preserve assets. This application asks the court for an order preserving assets until entry of the final divorce decree. If granted, the order to preserve assets will likely bar both parties from selling, encumbering, destroying, giving away, removing from the marital home, or in any other manner disposing of any real or personal property without the prior express permission from the Court.
What does preserving assets mean and how can I do it?
Perhaps most importantly, the order to preserve assets serves as notice to the spendthrift spouse. This means that if their spending continues, they will likely be in violation of the court’s order and could face serious punishment. This allows the trial court to hear not only that the spend-happy spouse continued their behavior despite the court’s order regarding preserving assets, but also allow the court to perhaps justify a more equitable division of assets in the innocent spouse’s favor.
Clark Butler, law clerk with Whitfield & Eddy Law, provided research for this month’s newsletter with Tyler. Clark’s post-law school interests include divorce and family law with Whitfield & Eddy Law.