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How Is Alimony Determined in a Wisconsin Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

By Attorney Max Stephenson

Milwaukee alimony lawyerFor some couples who choose to get divorced, one spouse is at a financial disadvantage. This may be because they were a stay-at-home parent, or simply because they earn a lower income than their former partner. To ensure that a person in this situation can continue to enjoy the same standard of living they had while married, alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance payments, may be awarded by the court. 

Alimony Factors

According to Wis. Stat. § 767.56, the court may take certain factors into consideration when deciding whether to grant maintenance or how much maintenance should be awarded. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health (physical and emotional) of both spouses
  • The property and assets owned by the parties and how these assets will be divided during divorce
  • The level of education each spouse completed at the time of marriage and at the time of the divorce
  • The income-earning abilities of the party seeking maintenance, including their educational background, employment training and skills, previous work experience, the amount of time they have been out of the job market, how custody of children will affect their ability to work, and the amount of time and money that will be required to seek education and/or training that will enable them to obtain employment
  • How long it will take the party seeking maintenance to be able to support themselves and maintain a similar standard of living as they enjoyed while married 
  • The tax implications of a maintenance award
  • Any mutual agreement made by the spouses, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Contributions made by one party during the marriage that helped the other spouse receive education or training that increased their earning ability
  • Any additional factors the court sees fit to consider based on the circumstances of an individual case

How Much Alimony Will Be Awarded?

Unlike many other states, Wisconsin does not have a set formula for calculating alimony. Instead, the amount of maintenance will be based on the receiving spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay, while taking the factors described above into account.

Maintenance payments may be awarded for a specific amount or time, or they may be paid indefinitely. In cases where spouses were married for multiple decades, and spouses have passed the age where they are likely to be able to further their education, the court will be more likely to order indefinite payments. Maintenance will be terminated upon the death of either spouse.

Contact a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Spousal Support Attorney

At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP our attorneys have represented many people going through the divorce process, and we can help you understand how Wisconsin’s divorce laws will apply to your case. Our experienced Milwaukee divorce lawyers will work with you to ensure that the relevant factors are considered when determining whether alimony is appropriate. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to schedule a consultation today.




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