What Amount and Duration of Spousal Maintenance Can be Expected in Wisconsin?
Many divorcing couples grapple with the issue of spousal maintenance – also referred to as alimony or spousal support in other states. For some partners, the thought of sharing future earnings with a soon-to-be former spouse is hard to swallow given the circumstances of the divorce. Even more difficult may be watching your ex enjoy the lifestyle you shared without having to pay for it. How much spousal maintenance is required varies with each divorce and the judge assigned to the case.
How much spousal maintenance can I be expected to pay?
In the state of Wisconsin, there is no set formula that dictates the amount of spousal maintenance or the duration. The court’s decision is based on a number of factors, including how long you were married, the physical and emotional health and ages of the spouses, and how the assets have been divided in the divorce.
Wisconsin also gives consideration as to the educational levels of the spouses, the earning potential of the spouse seeking maintenance, and whether one spouse contributed to the earning power or education of the other. Tax consequences are also considered, as well as the ability for the spouse seeking maintenance to reach a standard of living that closely resembles the one experienced during the marriage. Wisconsin courts may take into account any other factors it considers relevant in evaluating one spouse’s need for maintenance and the other’s ability to pay.
Duration of spousal maintenance
Spousal maintenance is typically for a set period of time, except in very long tern marriages (in excess of 25 years) or in the case of an ailing spouse. Spousal maintenance is designed to ease the financial hardship of divorce by provide the more financially dependent spouse with the necessary funds to maintain the pre-divorce lifestyle until that spouse becomes self-supporting. Spousal maintenance is terminated if the receiving spouse remarries or when either spouse dies. Other circumstances, such as an inheritance or change in financial situation, may warrant a change in spousal maintenance.
Can spousal maintenance be spent on anything?
Yes. While it is wise for the recipient of spousal maintenance to consider this financial support as an investment in the future rather than a monthly check to spend as they please, they are legally entitled to use the money for anything.
Both spouses should retain records of spousal maintenance, including copies of checks, money orders, and receipts for cash payments. Keep these records for at least three years, if not longer. They will be required for tax purposes and will be critical if there is ever an issue regarding spousal maintenance.
Knowledge and experience you can trust
The skilled Wisconsin divorce attorneys at the family law firm Bandle & Zaeske LLP share more than 50 years of combined experience and have a proven track record of success. Located in Milwaukee, we provide family law services to clients throughout the Southeastern Wisconsin area. If you are contemplating divorce, or experiencing difficulties with spousal maintenance, contact a member of our team today at 414-359-1424 or contact us online to arrange a confidential consultation to discuss your case.