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Alimony in Wisconsin

Alimony in Wisconsin


Alimony has evolved into gender neutral spousal support agreements that aim to balance divorce settlements equitably.  This ensures that in the absence of martial property, that the financially dependent spouse does not become impoverished as a result of the divorce.  This is a concern as that would increase the public benefits burden on the state.  



Therefore, the judge in a divorce case will use a number of factors to determine fair alimony in Wisconsin.  The arrangement that results may be short or long term and may come with conditions for both the payer and recipient.  Alimony in Wisconsin is referred to as “spousal maintenance”



Factors considered for alimony in Wisconsin



The potential income, which includes investments, benefits, wages and other things of value, will be factored when determining the appropriate level of alimony.  The potential incomes of both spouses are weighed before mitigating factors such as martial property, child care and other expenses are weighed.  The spousal support may also be temporary, if the court determines the spouse has the ability to increase their potential income through education, job training or using existing credentials to secure gainful employment.

Do not expect alimony for marital misconduct, especially in a no fault divorce.  This is not a factor considered at all when determining the level of alimony in Wisconsin.



Child support is considered only after a separate child support agreement is formulated, if that agreement limits how the spouse may benefit from those funds.  The contribution of the spouse to childcare will be a limited, but present factor in determining alimony.



Child support is determined by formula, but the court has broad discretion when determining the level of alimony paid to a spouse.



Can alimony in Wisconsin be contested?



Yes it can.  You may contest requests for alimony if you can prove that the spouse has a greater than stated potential income, the alimony settlement will have a large impact on your standard of living or that the spouses now cohabitates with another individual and receives the financial benefits of a marriage by living in this arrangement.



Is alimony in Wisconsin unfair to men?



Spousal maintenance is now gender neutral and will be ordered for a number of factors, but not based on gender roles or the gender dynamics of the couple.  If you are substantially supported by your wife or have paid extensive support to your wife, you can expect alimony from the divorce settlement.



Types of alimony in Wisconsin



The courts may order temporary alimony for those that cannot remain in the martial home while the divorce is ongoing.  The temporary alimony will cover temporary living arrangements before there is an agreement to pay alimony to the dependent spouse.



Reimbursement alimony can be ordered if one spouse bears significant expenses supporting the other spouse, such as paying for that spouses’ education or other investment.  The court will order that investment to be repaid to that spouse in full or in part, depending on the financial security and potential income of both sides.