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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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wife and i been married almost 8 yrs. I was a farmer prior

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wife and i been married almost 8 yrs. I was a farmer prior to getting married. I built up a whole line of equipment and cattle before and after being married. I have an 40 hr week job plus do my farming now. She works in retail. Before we got married she had nothing, older car and credit card bills. She pays now the water, electric and tv and internet. i pay house and all insurances (health and auto's and house insurance.) plus phone. She doesnt do anything toward the farm. it come out of my farm checkbook and such. If we divorce what can she take.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Iowa is an "equitable distribution" state when it comes to marital property. This means that the court has power to determine "who gets what" from the marital property.

Understand that marital property that you earned during the marriage.

It also includes the debt incurred during the marriage.

Equitable distribution is different from the other scheme use "community property"

In a community property split, the math is easy...the court figures out what is in the marital estate and splits it right down the middle.

But in an equitable distribution state like Iowa, the court has much more discretion...they can, for example, give one spouse more than the other, based on what they (the court) feels is fair...

Lets back up...a divorce can either be contested or not contested.

Uncontested; Now the fastest, (and by far the least expensive) way to get a divorce is if you can agree on the terms. If you can agree on "who gets what" there is not a need for attorneys...this will cut the costs to a very small amount (court fees)

Contested; if you can not agree, this is a contested divorce. To proceed you need an attorney or need to act as your own attorney (very bad idea). Here the parties present evidence to the court on "who gets what" and the court decides. This takes longer and involves attorney fees for both sides.

SO, if you can agree with your "soon to be ex" on who gets what, great! If not, you need an attorney.

So would she...and you both get to pay your lawyers yourselves.

So if you can agree...that is almost always the best solution. For both of you

Now...I understand you started your farm and equipment business PRIOR to marriage. But what you describe it sure sounds like you continued to build both DURING the marriage. This gives her a stake in both.

How much?

This goes back to the equitable distribution piece...basically, if you can not agree, she and her lawyer get to try and convince the court what they think is fair...and you and your lawyer can fight this.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne: since your marriage overlaps your building of the business, she is going to be able to claim a portion. How much? Whatever she can prove. Basically, whatever you grew your business since the marriage, she gets at least half of that...perhaps more (thanks to the discretion afforded the judge under equitable distribution)

I would sure try an negotiate with her so you can avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers fees.

Let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
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