A lot of people in Wisconsin are required to pay – or are entitled to receive – spousal maintenance. If you’re one of them, you need to know how it all works, and this guide breaks it down.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is a sum of money that one party has to pay the other in a divorce case. Usually, it’s intended to provide only temporary financial support to the spouse who earns less or was financially dependent on the other spouse during the marriage.
How Does the Court Determine Spousal Maintenance Amounts?
The state of Wisconsin doesn’t have an official formula for figuring out spousal maintenance. (It does for determining child support, but that’s another story.) However, the judge will look at several factors that are outlined in Wisconsin law, including:
- How long you were married
- How old you both are
- How physically and emotionally healthy you are
- How your property was divided
- Each party’s educational level, both at the beginning of the marriage and at the end
- The seeking party’s ability to earn enough money to support him- or herself
- Tax consequences for each party
- Whether it’s reasonable to expect the seeking party to become self-supporting and reach the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- Whether you have a prenuptial agreement
- The contributions you each made to the other’s career or education
- Any other factors the court feels are relevant
How Long Does a Spousal Maintenance Order Last?
The spousal maintenance the court orders in your case could range from a few months to several years – it all depends on the judge’s evaluation of financial need and ability.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Spousal Maintenance?
If you’re going through a divorce, it may be a good idea to ask your attorney a few questions about spousal maintenance and how the law might apply in your case.
Call us at 484-383-6700 for your free case review. You’ll talk to a compassionate, experienced attorney who can explain what could happen in your case, and who can build a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.