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When Will Alimony Be Awarded in a Wisconsin Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Milwaukee alimony and divorce lawyerDivorce is common in the United States, and every day, people choose to end their marriages for a variety of reasons. However, many people choose to say married for financial reasons. When two people have merged their lives, one spouse may become financially dependent on the other, and in these cases, the dependent person may believe that he or she has no option other than to stay in the marriage despite wanting a divorce.

In this scenario, Wisconsin courts will entertain a request for spousal maintenance, which is commonly referred to as alimony. A spouse may seek spousal maintenance regardless of how the marriage ended.

It is important to keep in mind the purpose of alimony. Spousal maintenance is not meant to punish a party. Rather, it is meant to support one spouse and allow them to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage. 

Alimony can also help a spouse who worked within the home for the benefit of the family and chose not to maintain a job during that time. Spousal maintenance is often awarded with the understanding that the payee spouse will be seeking education or training after the divorce, so that he or she can become financially self-sufficient at some point.

Factors Used When Awarding Alimony in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law gives a judge wide latitude when determining whether to award alimony. Judges can take into consideration any factors that may be relevant to a couple. In addition, the law also provides factors that must be considered, including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and health (both physical and emotional) of the spouses
  • The property division made as part of the divorce
  • The education level of each spouse when they were first married and at the time of divorce
  • The earning capacity of the spouse who is seeking alimony, including their education, training, work history, employment skills, length of time spent away from the job market, parenting responsibilities, and the amount of time and necessary costs required to obtain adequate education and/or training to become employable
  • The feasibility that the party requesting alimony can become self-supporting and maintain a standard of living that is similar to what they experienced while married, and, if so, the amount of time needed to achieve this objective
  • The tax consequences of an alimony award for both parties

A court will also consider agreements made between the parties during the marriage and whether one spouse contributed to the education of the other.

How Long Will Spousal Maintenance Be Ordered?

According to Wisconsin law, a court can order alimony payments for a limited or indefinite length of time. Typically, a court will consider the length of the marriage as the most important factor when making this decision.

If spouses choose to divorce after decades of marriage, and the payee is of an age where going back to school is unreasonable, a court may award alimony for an indefinite length of time. Whether alimony is awarded for a finite or indefinite time period, alimony payments will stop when the payor or payee dies.

Contact a Milwaukee Alimony Attorney

Our firm’s family law attorneys have helped many people arrive at a satisfactory spousal maintenance agreement through a complete understanding of this area of law and by knowing how different local judges handle this issue. Our skilled Milwaukee, WI spousal maintenance lawyers will advise you of your options and likely outcomes, and we will ensure that your best arguments are presented before a judge. Call our offices at 414-271-1440. We offer free consultations to prospective family law clients.  



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