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Can I Ask a Judge to Terminate My Alimony Payments?

 Posted on July 06, 2022 in Family Law

Waukesha County Alimony AttorneyFollowing a Wisconsin divorce, both spouses tend to have strong negative feelings about alimony and spousal maintenance. The spouse paying often feels as though the payments are unjustified since the relationship has ended, while the spouse receiving payments frequently feels as though they are insufficient considering their contributions to the marriage over the years. However, regardless of how you feel about spousal maintenance, once an order has been entered into a divorce decree it is legally enforceable and must be followed until it has been terminated. Failing to send alimony payments before the allotted time is up can result in serious penalties, so it is important to understand this area of Wisconsin family law. 

How Long Does Alimony Usually Last in Wisconsin? 

The length of court-ordered spousal maintenance payments will depend on several factors, including, but not limited to: 

  • Any agreement reached by the parties

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age of both parties

  • The physical and emotional health of both parties

  • The earning potential of the spouse seeking alimony, including how long it would take him or her to become financially self-sustaining 

There is no guarantee as to the amount of maintenance that a court will decide, and, depending on the circumstances, maintenance payments may last indefinitely or may not be ordered at all. 

When Can I Stop Making Alimony Payments? 

A “substantial change in circumstances” may justify a revision or termination of spousal maintenance payments. For example, if a spouse receiving spousal maintenance gets remarried, becomes financially dependent on another person, or begins living with someone new, payments may be terminated. A change in the cost of living or a substantial change in the payer’s earning capacity or the receiver’s earning capacity could also change or terminate payments. Finally, if spousal maintenance has not been ended for any other reason, it will terminate if either spouse passes away. 

If you believe the circumstances in your case justify ending or modifying alimony, you must submit a petition to review your maintenance order and get approval from a court before ending payments. Failing to make payments before a court terminates a maintenance order can result in fines, court sanctions, and even jail time. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether you are likely to be successful in a petition to terminate alimony. 

Call a Waukesha, WI Alimony Attorney 

Before terminating or adjusting your spousal maintenance payments, be sure you have all the information you need so you do not run into legal issues. For help with spousal maintenance or any other family law issues, speak with an experienced Waukesha County spousal maintenance attorney with Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP. Call us now at 262-232-6699 to schedule a free case review. 


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