Although some states have specific formulas for streamlining maintenance payments and calculating the amount and duration of an award, these decisions are made in Wisconsin on a case-by-case basis. There is no specific formula. Accordingly, it is essential to work with one of our experienced Fox Point alimony attorneys who can discuss eligibility, amount, and duration of maintenance payments with you today.
Alimony Lawyers Serving Clients in Fox Point, Wisconsin
Alimony is known as “maintenance” according to Wisconsin law. It is a type of payment that the court can order one spouse to pay to the other spouse. Alimony or maintenance payments can be ordered in connection with a divorce case, a separation, or an annulment in Wisconsin. While some states permit courts to consider issues like fault or adultery in awarding alimony, it is critical to understand that Wisconsin’s alimony system does not work that way. To be sure, Wisconsin case law makes clear that courts “may not consider marital misconduct as a relevant factor in granting maintenance payments.”
In general, maintenance in Wisconsin aims to ensure that both parties have sufficient money to enjoy a certain standard of living and, for the spouse seeking maintenance, to be able to obtain education or professional training that can ultimately allow both spouses to be self-supporting without the need for maintenance. Courts in Wisconsin can also award maintenance to compensate one of the spouses for contributions made to the marriage or to the other spouse’s educational or professional growth. That kind of compensation can be awarded in connection with property division in the state. When couples in Wisconsin get divorced after a long-term marriage, often known as a “gray divorce,” a court might award indefinite alimony to one of the spouses.
Types of Alimony Issues Our Fox Point Lawyers Handle
At Karp & Iancu, S.C., our experienced alimony attorneys in Fox Point represent clients in a wide range of cases concerning alimony or maintenance in Wisconsin. Some of the issues we commonly handle include but are not limited to the following:
- Eligibility for maintenance;
- Understanding different types of maintenance;
- Factors courts consider in determining appropriateness of a maintenance award;
- Proving need for long-term or indefinite alimony;
- Modifying an alimony award due to a substantial change in circumstances;
- Handling tax issues related to maintenance payments;
- Prenuptial agreements and alimony, including issues pertaining to unenforceability;
- Relationship between maintenance and other family support payments; and
- Terminating maintenance payments.
When is Alimony Awarded in Fox Point, Wisconsin?
Wisconsin law outlines a number of factors that are relevant in a court’s decision concerning the appropriateness of awarding maintenance to one of the spouses. Those factors include but are not limited to:
- Marriage length;
- Age and health of the parties;
- Education and earning capacity of the parties;
- Property division;
- Tax consequences of maintenance;
- Agreement between the spouses concerning maintenance; and
- Contributions by one spouse to the other spouse’s education or professional improvement.
These are just some of the factors cited in the statute, and Wisconsin law also clarifies that the court should consider “such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.”
Effect of Prenuptial Agreements on Fox Point Alimony Cases
Prenuptial agreements in Wisconsin allow parties to enter into an agreement in which one of the spouses waives his or her right to maintenance. In general, courts will uphold prenuptial agreements as long as they were entered into fairly, yet courts can determine that a spousal maintenance waiver is unenforceable if it appears unconscionable at the time of the divorce or separation.
Kinds of Fox Point Alimony That Can Be Awarded
Alimony can take various forms in Fox Point, Wisconsin, such as:
- Temporary maintenance, or limited-term maintenance, which is usually awarded for a specific amount of time as rehabilitative maintenance so that one of the spouses can obtain any necessary education, professional training, certification, or other experience in order to become self-supporting;
- Indefinite maintenance, which can last for a lifetime in some cases, and is often awarded in situations where the spouses were married for a long time and the receiving or payee spouse is unlikely to be able to become self-supporting based on factors like age and earning potential;
- Compensatory maintenance, which can be paid to one of the spouses as compensation for his or her contributions to the other spouse’s increased education or professional opportunities during the marriage to the detriment of that spouse’s own educational and professional growth (compensatory maintenance can be considered in connection with property division, according to Wisconsin case law);
- Lump-sum maintenance, which refers to the way in which a maintenance award is paid as a lump sum; and
- Periodic maintenance, which also refers to the way in which a maintenance award is paid, but these types of payments are made over time (usually monthly) until the termination date of the maintenance award or until a modification occurs.
Fox Point Taxes and Alimony
What are the tax consequences for an alimony or maintenance award in Wisconsin? The spouse paying maintenance (the “payer”) is responsible for paying taxes on the amount, while the recipient spouse (the “payee”) is not taxed on the amount received.