Our Wauwatosa alimony attorneys know how important the issue of alimony can be in many Wisconsin divorce cases, and we will do everything we can to advocate for you whether you need to seek alimony as part of your divorce case or you have concerns about your responsibility under Wisconsin law to pay alimony. The dedicated alimony lawyers at our firm can provide you with more information about what to expect as part of your alimony case.
Wisconsin Alimony Lawyers Representing Clients in Wauwatosa
While many states use the term “alimony” to refer to support payments made by one spouse to the other during and after a divorce case, it is important to know that Wisconsin law uses the term “maintenance.”
Maintenance can be ordered in cases involving annulment, divorce, or legal separation, and Wisconsin law allows a court to grant maintenance to one of the parties for a limited or indefinite period depending upon the specific circumstances. When maintenance is ordered, one of the parties will make regular maintenance payments to the other party. The amount and duration of the maintenance award will be based on the specific facts of the case. To be clear, all alimony or maintenance awards are determined on a case-by case basis. There is no set formula for determining alimony as there is with child support.
How to Seek Alimony in Wauwatosa
Before a Wisconsin court can determine the amount and duration of an alimony or maintenance award, the court must first determine whether alimony is appropriate given the circumstances of the parties. Accordingly, if you want to seek alimony payments in Wisconsin as part of your divorce or annulment, or as part of a separation, you will need to ask the court to consider maintenance and to determine whether it is appropriate in your case. Once the court decides that alimony is appropriate, then it will consider the amount and duration of the award.
If you have already waived maintenance, or you have agreed not to be eligible for spousal maintenance through an enforceable prenuptial agreement, then there is not usually anything you can do in order to seek alimony. It may be possible to show that the prenuptial agreement is unenforceable, but you will need assistance from an experienced attorney.
How Wauwatosa Courts Award Alimony
Under Wisconsin law, there are 10 statutory factors that a court can consider when determining whether an alimony or maintenance award is appropriate in a particular case. Those cited factors include the following:
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
- The division of property;
- The educational level of each party at the time of the marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
- The 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;
- The 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;
- The 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.
Purposes of Alimony in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Alimony awards can serve different purposes in Wisconsin depending upon the circumstances of the parties. Generally speaking, rehabilitative maintenance is designed to help one of the parties obtain the education or job training necessary in order to be able to support themselves within a certain period of time. When rehabilitative maintenance is ordered, it is usually temporary until the receiving party obtains a paying position or completes a degree or certification.
Spousal maintenance can also be awarded after a longer term marriage in order to allow one of the spouses to continue to experience a similar standard of living that she or he experienced during the marriage. This type of alimony may be awarded on a temporary basis, but it is often awarded on an indefinite basis, especially after a lengthy marriage. In some cases, courts can also award alimony or maintenance for compensatory purposes, such as if one of the parties financially supported the other party while that party obtained a degree, or one of the parties agreed to be a stay-at-home parent during the marriage to the detriment of that person’s career and earning capacity.
Amount and Duration of Wauwatosa Alimony
The court will consider a variety of factors pertaining to the parties’ circumstances when determining the amount and duration of a maintenance award in Wauwatosa. In most cases, indefinite maintenance is only awarded in cases of long-term marriages, while temporary maintenance may be ordered in a variety of cases based on the facts.