Permanent Alimony Award is Upheld In Long Term Marriage Where Relatively Young Spouse Works Only Part-Time Due to Fatigue Associated With Multiple Sclerosis

Iowa Husband and Wife are divorcing after nearly twenty years of marriage. They have three Children together.

Wife works part-time as a nurse and seeks alimony from Husband, a supervising mechanic.

Husband contends that Wife should work full-time to earn more money and receive benefits. Husband asks the court to reduce spousal support following a ten year period.

Wife has had multiple sclerosis since before the parties’ marriage. One of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a sometimes disabling disease, is extreme fatigue.

Wife maintains that she cannot work full-time because she requires a day off for rest after two days of work.

Wife’s medications to treat her multiple sclerosis will cost a whopping $4,300 per month if her coverage through Husband’s health insurance plan ends.

Husband earns five times Wife’s salary from his primary employment and his part-time work on the side.

At trial, the family court awards Wife $600 per month in permanent alimony. The divorce court further orders Husband to maintain Wife on his insurance as long as is permitted. The family court also awards Wife primary custody of their Children and awards Wife child support.

Both Husband and Wife appeal the family court’s rulings at trial.

On appeal, the intermediate level appellate court increases Wife’s award of permanent alimony to $700 per month, but reduces the award of child support. Otherwise, the court upholds the trial court’s rulings.

On appeal to Iowa’s highest court, the intermediate appellate court’s rulings are upheld.

Read more in this Iowa family court case.