– from Denise I. in Newburg, WI

Question Details:

I have been married for eight years. When my husband and I got married, we agreed that after he completes medical school and residency, I would be able to embark on my career of choice: that of a homemaker, wife, and mother. Now, he wants a divorce. He finally completed residency, now he wants a divorce. I have supported him financially through the years working as a bookkeeper while he attended medical school, so we don't have a lot of money or property to divide. I lived up to my end of our agreement. Am I entitled to maintenance?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Based on the information you have provided, it would appear as though you are entitled to maintenance. Maintenance is primarily an outcome which is based on the grounds that one party should not experience a hardship or a decrease in the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. However, in cases of considerable contribution made by one party with the expectations of reciprocation such as increased income, it may be considered that your contribution deserves this same reciprocation in the event of a divorce.

In the case of Haugan v. Haugan, 117 Wis. 2d 200, 343 N.W.2d 796 (1984), it was first decided that the wife would receive more than 50% of the marital property, but denied maintenance. However, after the court of appeals affirmed, the supreme court reversed this decision on the grounds that the wife was entitled to reciprocation due to her contributions.

My advice is to contact a family law attorney for guidance, advice, and representation, right away.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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