Posted on May 06, 2024 in Divorce

Getting a divorce is likely to be a challenging process, and as you prepare for the end of your marriage, you may face both emotional and financial uncertainties. One concern you may have is whether you will be required to pay alimony, which is also known as spousal support, spousal maintenance, or simply as “maintenance.” Understanding the factors that influence maintenance decisions in Wisconsin can help you prepare for what lies ahead. As you address this issue and other legal and financial concerns, it is crucial to work with a compassionate, experienced family law attorney who can provide you with guidance and assist you in completing the divorce process successfully.

What Factors Affect Maintenance in Wisconsin?

During a divorce, maintenance may be awarded based on a set of specific factors intended to determine whether a spouse will need financial support to maintain his or her standard of living. Some of the key elements that Wisconsin courts will consider when determining whether spousal support is appropriate in your case include:

  • Length of the marriage: Maintenance is more likely to be a factor if your spouse has depended on your income to provide for your family’s financial needs during most of your marriage. If you have been married for a significant amount of time, and you earn the majority of your family’s income, the likelihood that you will be required to pay maintenance will be higher.
  • Age and physical health: Both your and your spouse’s health will be considered to determine whether maintenance may be appropriate. Factors that will affect either party’s ability to support themselves, such as health issues that affect employment or involve extensive medical expenses, can be considered.
  • Division of property: Decisions about how your marital assets and debts will be divided may also affect maintenance. Depending on how financial matters are handled in your case, the court may find that it would be preferable to grant your spouse a larger share of the marital estate instead of requiring you to make ongoing support payments.
  • Educational level and earning capacity: The court may consider both your and your spouse’s education and employment skills to determine whether you should be able to support yourselves. Decisions about child custody may play a role, since the requirement to care for children may affect a person’s ability to pursue career opportunities. If your spouse needs time to pursue education or training in order to become self-sufficient, you may be required to pay maintenance for a certain period of time as he or she pursues this goal.
  • Contributions to the marriage: If your spouse made financial or non-financial contributions to your education or to help increase your earning power, this may be considered when determining whether spousal support will be awarded. For example, if your spouse took care of responsibilities such as homemaking and childrearing while you focused on your career, this could be a reason that you may be required to pay maintenance.

Reasons Why Maintenance May Be Appropriate

Ultimately, spousal support can help ensure fairness in a divorce in the following ways:

  • Financial stability: Ongoing support payments can ensure that a lower-earning spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.
  • Opportunity for growth: Financial support can provide a receiving spouse with the ability to pursue education or training and become financially independent.
  • Acknowledgment of contributions: Maintenance can compensate a spouse for the years they have dedicated themselves to family responsibilities instead of pursuing his or her own career opportunities.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Alimony Lawyers

Maintenance can be a contentious topic to address during a divorce. As you work to end your marriage, you will need to understand how to make sure your financial interests are protected. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI alimony attorneys can advise you on how Wisconsin law may affect your support obligations, and we will work to resolve these issues and help you complete your divorce successfully. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to set up a free consultation today.