– from Cynthia Z. in Slinger, WI

Question Details:

When I was divorced. my husband and I stipulated that I would receive maintenance for a set number of years. It did not mention remarriage or anything. It only stipulated that I would receive the maintenance until the date predetermined by us. I recently remarried, and he is motioning the court to terminate the maintenance according to section 767.59(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes. Does a stipulation overrule a statute?

Family Law Attorney Response:

One can never absolutely know what a court will decide , but generally speaking, it is unlikely they would rule in favor of a statute if it would undermine a spousal support stipulation that was already accepted by the court.

In the case of Spencer v. Spencer 140 Wis. 2d 447, 410 N.W.2d 629 (Ct. App. 1987), a similar case was brought before the court. Remarriage was not mentioned in the stipulation of maintenance for a predetermined timeframe of 17 years. When the wife remarried, the husband made a motion based on then section 767.32(3) which permitted termination of maintenance upon remarriage. The trial court granted his motion. However, upon appeal, the appellate court determined that the statute did not justify termination because the parties had agreed previously to the maintenance award for 17 years with no introduction of termination upon remarriage.

I would still advise you to seek legal representation before moving forward on your own.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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