What is Alimony in Milwaukee?
Alimony, or maintenance under Wisconsin law, is a payment made by one spouse to the other spouse following a legal separation, divorce, or annulment. It is important to know that alimony or maintenance is not automatic, and maintenance payments are not ordered in every divorce or legal separation case. Rather, the party who wants to receive maintenance payments will need to seek maintenance during the legal separation or divorce case, and then the court will need to determine whether maintenance is appropriate given the parties’ individual circumstances. Either spouse can request alimony or maintenance, and gender is not a factor in determining whether alimony or maintenance should be granted.
To be clear, Milwaukee courts will first determine whether to grant alimony or maintenance, and then the court will determine the amount and duration of the maintenance award.
Factors to Consider for Granting Maintenance in Milwaukee
When a Milwaukee court is determining whether to grant alimony or maintenance to the party requesting it, the court can consider a wide variety of factors listed in the statute. Those factors are cited in the statute as follows:
- Length of the marriage;
- Age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
- Division of property;
- The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
- Earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment;
- The feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal;
- Tax consequences to each party;
- Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage, according to the terms of which one party has made financial or service contributions to the other with the expectation of reciprocation or other compensation in the future, if the repayment has not been made, or any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning any arrangement for the financial support of the parties;
- Contribution by one party to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other; and/or
- Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.
It is important to be clear that fault-based factors are not taken into consideration for alimony or maintenance payments. Although some states do permit factors like adultery or abuse to play a role in determining whether alimony is granted, or in the amount or duration of maintenance payments, Milwaukee does not consider fault-based factors in maintenance determinations. Our Milwaukee alimony lawyers can help guide you through this difficult process and answer any questions you may have.
Calculation of Milwaukee Alimony
While some states have specific formulas for calculating the amount and duration of maintenance or alimony payments, Milwaukee courts do not apply a particular formula when calculating the amount or duration of maintenance payments. Instead, the court will usually consider the factors identified above when deciding what amount and duration of maintenance payments is appropriate under the circumstances. The calculation is made on a case-by-case basis.
Types of Maintenance Payments in Milwaukee
How does alimony get paid in Milwaukee? Generally speaking, maintenance awards can come in any of the following forms:
- Temporary support, in which the court grants an interim maintenance payment request while a divorce case is pending and until a final determination about maintenance following the divorce can be considered;
- Limited maintenance, which is granted in connection with a divorce for a limited period of time after the divorce is finalized, and for a period that corresponds to the needs of the receiving spouse and other factors specific to the relationship;
- Permanent or indefinite maintenance, which is granted in connection with a divorce but is not the norm, and it is most common in circumstances where the parties were married for a very long time.
How do the payments get made? Typically, maintenance payments will fall into one of the following categories:
- Lump sum payment, in which all of the awarded alimony is paid in a lump sum; or
- Periodic payments, in which the maintenance is paid periodically by one spouse to the other, usually on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
How Milwaukee Alimony or Maintenance Affects Taxes
Tax consequences for alimony or maintenance payments changed recently. Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and beginning on January 1, 2019, taxes on alimony or maintenance payments are made by the paying spouse, while the receiving spouse does not have to count the payments as taxable income.
It is essential to note this change since, prior to the TCJA, the party making maintenance payments could deduct those payments before taxes, and the receiving party was responsible for paying taxes on the amount received.
Milwaukee Alimony Modifications
If a substantial change in circumstances has occurred for either party, it may be possible to modify maintenance payments.