– from Patricia U. in West Milwaukee, WI

Question Details:

I have been married for nearly 20 years. Even though I do have a diploma and prior work experience, I have not worked for the last 15 years of the marriage. My husband is a successful business owner and decided to be the sole provider for the both of us. We decided that I would be a homemaker. When we decided to get divorced several years ago we agreed that he would pay maintenance for a set amount of time, whereas during that time, I would take classes and become self-supporting. Despite working incredibly hard for it, I have yet to gain a full-time position. My time is running out for the maintenance. Can I have the maintenance award modified?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Maintenance orders can be modified, yes. However, it is dependent on the circumstances, the wording, and the accepted agreement of the maintenance judgment set forth by the court.

There are many ways this proceeding could play out. One example is the case of Fobes v. Fobes 124 Wis. 2d 72, 368 N.W.2d 643 (1985). In this particular case, The wife entered into a stipulation that determined that she would receive maintenance for three years. During that time, she would gain full time employment. She, too, was unable to do so, and requested a modification. The circuit court granted her modification request and awarded her permanent maintenance. The husband appealed, the court of appeals certified the case, the supreme court accepted the certification and affirmed. This is one possible scenario, but your case will be decided on its own merits.

My advice would be to contact an experienced family law attorney right away to assist and represent you in your spousal support case.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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