– from Thomas U. in Vernon, WI

Question Details:

I am supposed to make maintenance payments to my ex-wife of 17 years for the next three years. However, my job just laid me off due to the company shutting down. I am receiving severance payments from my pension plan, however I do not want to pay my ex-wife with this. Will she be able to tap into these payments??

Family Law Attorney Response:

She could not personally tap into the severance payments. Severance can be used to compensate for maintenance, but this is not true for every case. Severance payments must be viewed on a case-by-case analysis.

In the case Fessler v. Fessler 147 Wis.2d 1, 432 N.W.2d 103 (Ct. App. 1988), the court of appeals reviewed the definition of severance pay and said this type of pay is given to an employee only when his employment status with the employer is severed. However, this payment does not mean it can be used as a form of maintenance.

Give me a call to discuss the details of your spousal support case so we can see if you must pay you wife with the severance payments or not.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

lexis-nexis-image lawyers-image justia-image hg-image findlaw-image avvo-image