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How Is Spousal Maintenance Determined in Wisconsin?

 Posted on August 31, 2021 in Family Law

waukesha spousal maintenance lawyerA divorce can lead to a variety of financial difficulties for both parties. While spouses will need to make adjustments to ensure that they will be able to support themselves individually instead of using a combined income, there are some situations where one party may be at a financial disadvantage. If one spouse earns a lower income, or if they are a stay-at-home parent who does not work outside the home, spousal maintenance may be appropriate. In these situations, a spouse may ask for ongoing support payments from their former partner. By understanding how Wisconsin law addresses this issue, divorcing spouses can understand their rights and determine how they can protect their financial interests.

Understanding Issues Related to Spousal Support

When it comes to spousal maintenance, Wisconsin’s divorce laws are fairly broad. Judges have a great deal of leeway to determine when this form of support will be appropriate, how much will be paid, and how long payments will last. The law lists a number of factors that should be considered by a judge when they look at whether to award spousal maintenance, and these include the age and health of both parties, how their financial situations will be affected by the division of marital property, and whether they have made any agreements about this issue, such as a prenuptial agreement.

Some of the most important issues that a judge may consider involve the earning capacity of the spouse who is asking for maintenance. The judge will look at the spouse’s education, job training, and employment skills, while also considering whether they have been out of the job market for a significant period of time, whether the decisions made about child custody and placement have given them responsibilities that will affect their ability to work, and whether they have the means to pursue education or training that will allow them to find employment. The judge may also consider whether either spouse has contributed to the other spouse’s education or training in a way that has increased that spouse’s earning capacity.

Ultimately, decisions about spousal maintenance will be made with the intent of ensuring that the spouses can maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage. If a judge decides that one party needs support to maintain this standard of living, they may award maintenance. Since Wisconsin law does not specify how the amount of support payments should be determined, a judge may award whatever amount they believe is appropriate. A support order may divide the parties’ combined income equally between the spouses, but a judge may also look at other financial resources available to each spouse to determine an appropriate amount. The judge will also decide how long maintenance should be paid, and when doing so, they will often consider the amount of time the recipient may need to pursue education or job training.

Contact Our Waukesha County Spousal Maintenance Lawyers

Whether you believe that you should receive spousal maintenance following your divorce or are expected to pay support to your ex-spouse, you will want to make sure all applicable factors are considered when addressing this issue. The lawyers of Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP can provide you with representation and advocate for your interests regarding maintenance and other issues. We will help you reach a divorce settlement that protects your financial interests. Contact our Milwaukee County spousal support attorneys today at 262-232-6699 to arrange a free consultation.


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