Adultery In Wisconsin: Does Cheating Affect Spousal Maintenance?
If your spouse cheated on you, you may feel that you have the advantage when it comes to your divorce proceeding. After all, if they committed adultery, and the infidelity contributed to the marriage failing, then surely they should pay the price in the divorce settlement, right? Not exactly. Divorce is complicated and decisions regarding spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support are based on Wisconsin’s divorce laws.
Wisconsin is a “no fault” state
In Wisconsin, couples that choose to divorce are not required to explain to the court or show evidence as to why the marriage has failed. Wisconsin is a “no fault” divorce state. If either spouse believes that the marriage is irreparable and the judge agrees, then the couple will be granted a divorce. When issuing a divorce order, the Wisconsin courts do not take into consideration any matters pertaining to the marriage itself – including adultery – that may have contributed to the failure of the marriage. The only consideration is whether the marriage did actually fail.
How spousal maintenance is determined
Spousal maintenance is designed to provide financial support to the lower-income spouse who was financially dependent on their spouse during the marriage. In Wisconsin, judges decide whether to award spousal maintenance, and if so, how much and for how long. Judges consider a number of factors in making this determination, including but not limited to the following:
- Length of the marriage
- Physical health of each spouse
- Emotional well-being of each spouse
- Age of each spouse
- Level of education of each spouse
- Division of property
- Earning potential of the spouse receiving support
Whether or not your spouse committed adultery is not taken into consideration by the Wisconsin courts in determining spousal maintenance. In fact, judges are not permitted to consider any marital misconduct. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide financial support so that both spouses have an equitable standard of living post-divorce, and not to punish a spouse for their role in causing the marriage to fail. Because the Wisconsin trial courts have such broad discretion in making decisions regarding spousal maintenance, it is often one of the most contested issues in divorce proceedings.
Milwaukee’s experienced divorce attorneys offer in-depth knowledge and compassionate counsel
Filing for a divorce is an emotionally challenging, often overwhelming process. At Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, we understand. Our experienced Milwaukee divorce attorneys have in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Wisconsin’s divorce laws, and skillfully navigate the divorce process to reach the best possible outcome in your situation. With compassionate counsel, we guide you every step of the way, advocating on your behalf. If you have questions regarding the divorce process, contact a member of our team for a confidential consultation at 414-359-1424 or online.