Understanding Alimony in Wisconsin

Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, refers to the financial support one spouse provides the other spouse either during or after a divorce. Spousal maintenance is often necessary for one spouse, allowing them the opportunity to rebuild their lives and strengthen their financial situation after divorce.

Spousal maintenance is one of the most important matters addressed in a divorce. While not every case deals with alimony, as it depends on whether one or both spouses request it from the other, it’s helpful to understand what it is and how to get it.

Types of Alimony in Wisconsin

Multiple types of alimony exist. The spousal maintenance that is granted depends on several factors, including a spouse’s needs and what the judge thinks is fair considering the circumstances.

Temporary Maintenance

Temporary support only allows a spouse to receive financial maintenance for a short period of time, usually during divorce proceedings.

Usually, temporary support ends as soon as the divorce is finalized. However, if there is good reason to allow the financial support to continue, a judge can decide to grant maintenance after the divorce is over.

Permanent Maintenace

Permanent alimony, as the name suggests, is permanent financial support with no end date. This type of alimony will only end under two circumstances: the receiving spouse remarried, or either spouse passes away.

Even though the financial responsibility is permanent, it does not mean the amount paid to the receiving spouse is permanent. The amount paid may fluctuate throughout the years, especially if the paying spouse requests modifications as a result of financial changes.

Lump-Sum Support

Spousal maintenance payments are typically made on a monthly basis. However, with lump-sum support, the paying spouse will give the receiving spouse a one-time lump-sum payment and avoid dealing with reoccurring monthly payments.

Reimbursement Support

Reimbursement support is a unique type of spousal maintenance. It serves to reimburse a spouse for the past financial support they provided.

One of the most common examples of this is reimbursement for education. If the wife paid for the husband’s schooling, the husband will then reimburse the wife for her financial sacrifice.

This type of alimony is considered a temporary type of support, as payments only last as long as it takes for the reimbursement to be fulfilled.

Determining Whether Alimony is Appropriate in a Divorce Case

Various factors play a role in determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate and warranted. Some of the details judges consider include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The division of property in the divorce case
  • Each spouse’s age, health, and capacity to earn a living
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Tax consequences of spousal maintenance
  • Whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement exists, and if so, what it states regarding alimony

If a judge decides one spouse is entitled to spousal support, they will then look at financial information to calculate a fair amount.

Discuss Your Case with a Qualified Divorce Attorney

Spousal maintenance is a key issue in many divorce cases. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle your case alone. Consult with a skilled divorce attorney at Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C. Contact our firm today at (608) 237-6854 to schedule your consultation.