Spousal Maintenance

In Wisconsin, spousal maintenance is the legal term for what most people still refer to as alimony. Several decades ago, it was common for the court to award long-term or permanent financial spousal support to one spouse (usually the wife) until remarriage. Times have changed and laws have changed. Courts may award maintenance for a variety of reasons.

Types Of Maintenance

Classic maintenance is for long-term marriage, typically longer than 20 years, when there is a large disparity in income and earning power between the spouses. For marriages of shorter duration, the courts may recognize that one of the spouses will be at a temporary disadvantage during the period of time leading up to the divorce settlement.

Some form of temporary alimony may be extended as part of the divorce judgment, if one spouse requires a year or two to complete college or find a job. Whether you are seeking spousal maintenance or are worried about your exposure to paying, we will carefully review your circumstances explain your options on a case-by-case basis and work hard to protect your interests.

Spousal maintenance is still a point of contention between divorcing spouses. Too many people have the old model in their heads, with one spouse seeking the award in order to stay financially solvent and the other spouse worried about living in poverty.

At Brazil & Benske, LLC, in Milwaukee, we have represented clients in thousands of divorces involving spousal maintenance. Let us assure you: Nobody comes out financially ahead after a divorce. Because of martial property laws, it is impossible to divide marital assets in half and end up with more than what you started with. Also, the courts will not hand down a support judgment that leaves one party poor so the other party can live comfortably. The law simply doesn't work that way.

Yes, You And Your Spouse Can Come To A Fair Arrangement

Spousal maintenance is an issue that can be agreed upon by the two parties during negotiations or divorce mediation, along with the property settlement agreement and child-related issues. If the parties cannot agree and one person feels he or she is entitled to support, then the case for support must be heard by the judge.

Because spousal maintenance is not based on a formula like child support, an order for alimony will greatly depend upon your attorney's ability to make a strong case for or against support, in what amount and for what length of time. It's wise to choose a Wisconsin alimony attorney with the experience and ability to negotiate, mediate and litigate your spousal support claim. We will help you analyze all the factors that the judge will look at and use the most up-to-date technology to determine the appropriate support award.

Whether you are seeking support or you believe your partner could be self-supporting and does not require alimony, we can help you. Contact the Milwaukee spousal maintenance attorneys at Brazil & Benske, LLC.

Factors A Judge May Consider When Awarding Spousal Maintenance

There are 11 factors that a judge may consider when arriving at a decision to award spousal maintenance. These factors include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age of the parties
  • Health or disability of the parties
  • Current income of the parties, future earning potential and income disparity
  • Education levels and job skills of each party

Is It Time To Discontinue Support?

As more and more people experience job losses and business reductions, it is becoming increasingly common for alimony-paying spouses to seek a reduction or discontinuation of spousal support. Increases in the other party's income or changes in his or her financial situation, including remarriage or cohabitation, may also allow you to seek a reduction in your support obligation. If you have experienced a significant change of circumstance, it is important that you take your case back to court. Failing to pay your court-ordered alimony can result in wage garnishment and even jail time. We can help you bring your case back to court.

If you are receiving spousal support and have experienced a substantial change in your financial need, or if your ex-spouse has enjoyed a significant increase in earnings, you may be entitled to an increase in either the amount of support you receive or the length of time that you receive support.

If Spousal Support Is Making You Nervous About Your Divorce, We Need To Talk

Start getting over your worries about alimony by getting your questions answered. Call us at 414-939-0468 or send an email with some details about your concerns. We will schedule a time when you can sit down with one of our lawyers to get a better understanding of what the law will and will not allow, and how we can help you reach a reasonable settlement.