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Below, you’ll learn about alimony in Wisconsin including its benefits, process, cost and key differences from child support.
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Questions answered in this article:
What is alimony? | Are there different kinds of alimony? | How much does alimony cost? | How is alimony calculated? | How long do I have to pay alimony? | How long do I get alimony? | Can alimony be avoided in Wisconsin? | How do I file to receive alimony?
Legally reviewed for accuracy by Attorney Kelly Dodd
The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Talk to a lawyer today for legal advice
Sometimes fairness dictates that spouses must continue to share income after the divorce has concluded. This can happen, for example, when the parties have had a long marriage and only one party was the primary income-earner, or when one party needs a little extra time to establish a professional earning history that will allow him or her to support themselves at the standard of living both parties enjoyed during the marriage. When such circumstances exist, the court can order spousal support or “maintenance.”
Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support or “maintenance”, is support that is paid for the purpose of helping a spouse after a divorce or even sometimes during the pendency of a divorce case.
Often in a divorce, alimony is awarded for the benefit of a spouse whereas child support is awarded for the benefit of children. Learn more about your child support options here.
Yes, there are three different types of alimony. Courts typically order spousal support for one of three purposes:
Unlike child support, which is based on a prescribed mathematical formula, spousal support is left to the subjective discretion of the judge who must make a decision based on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
However, the driving consideration is how to fairly share income between the spouses so that, to the extent possible, the financial consequences of the divorce are borne equally by both parties and that both parties are given roughly the same tools and opportunity to financially recover.
A judge takes two things into consideration when deciding how long you or your spouse will be responsible or paying a specific amount of alimony—alimony amount and alimony terms.
While alimony is a binding financial agreement that could likely not end until you remarry or until either spouse passes away, your payment terms can change. For example, if you lose your job years after your initial alimony agreement with your old spouse, you won’t have any income to substantiate your payment, so instead of risking penalization, you’d return to the court and request a change to your alimony payments amount.
When doing so, remember that the judge will need proof that your financial situation has changed significantly enough that you can’t make your payments. After that, the judge will prepare a better payment plan for them, and your spousal maintenance will change. Learn about other factors that influence whether or not you can modify your alimony agreement.
You can receive alimony from anywhere from a set period of months—or more likely— years based on the goals and objectives of your court-approved alimony agreement. As mentioned above, alimony duration and amount is subsequent to change if one spouse’s circumstances change during that time period.
In some cases, the court will order “indefinite” maintenance. This does not mean you will receive (or vice versa pay) alimony forever—it means the order will remain in effect until further order of the court.This is the court’s way of leaving the maintenance termination date “open” and flexible in order to accommodate changing circumstances such as a party’s pending retirement, the receipt of a forthcoming inheritance, or the emancipation of the parties’ children.
In any event, an alimony agreement typically terminates automatically if the recipient spouse remarries or if either spouse dies.
Short answer: sometimes, but it depends.
There are two ways to kick-off the process of asking for alimony in a divorce. Both will be presented to you within your first conversation with an attorney.
Option 1: Mediation. Talk to one of our experienced mediators for help on how to guide you and your spouse toward a joint agreement without the stressors of a courtroom. Although cost will vary based on your needs, the starting price for mediation services at Karp & Iancu is $1,799 per spouse.
Option 2: Litigation. Schedule a no-cost, no pressure consultation with one of our family law attorneys.
Read more about the benefits of choosing mediation over litigation.
Your money matters. Count on our experience to get fair alimony payments.
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