When you’re getting divorced in Wisconsin, the courts may choose to award you or your spouse alimony (commonly called spousal maintenance). If that’s a factor in your divorce, the courts will consider how long you’ve been married – and if you have a short-term marriage, it can affect the amount of spousal maintenance that changes hands in your case.
What is a Short-Term Marriage in Wisconsin?
Generally, a short-term marriage is one that’s lasted fewer than 15 years. Those that last longer than 15 years are typically considered long-term marriages.
Why Does it Matter if You Have a Short-Term Marriage?
Every case is different, and there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule, but in short-term marriages, judges sometimes make smaller alimony awards than they do after long-term marriages. The courts have to consider the length of the marriage when they’re determining how much spousal maintenance will change hands during and after the divorce.
Another factor that courts consider is whether the spouse who’s seeking spousal maintenance will be able to enter the workforce and earn enough money to enjoy the standard of living the couple established during the marriage. That means the judge will look at the seeking spouse’s employability – and how long it would take him or her to get the education or credentials necessary to make enough money. The judge can order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony until a reasonable amount of time has passed.
In some cases, judges order permanent spousal maintenance. That means the spouse paying must continue paying until either spouse dies. However, this is more common after long-term marriages, especially when one spouse stayed at home and didn’t work during the marriage.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Dissolving Your Short-Term Marriage?
If you’re divorcing your spouse, you could benefit from talking to a Milwaukee divorce attorney. Call us at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with us online to schedule your free divorce consultation.