– from Jean H. in Cudahy, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I have been married for going on 20 years. We have both decided to call it quits. I can't say the circumstances are on the best of terms, but we do agree that I should have custody of our two sons. We disagree on many factors. One, is maintenance. I worked for about five years in the beginning of our marriage while he finished college, then I became a full-time homemaker for the last 15 years. He says that since I do have some experience in the work field, he will fight any support. After 15 years of being a homemaker, am I entitled to support?

Family Law Attorney Response:

In my opinion, your chances are pretty good when it comes to receiving maintenance. Even if it is a temporary order while awaiting a final judgment. Even then, I think your chances are fairly good in receiving extended maintenance. However, there are several factors a court will look at when making these decisions. They may also factor in what you will receive in the asset and estate division when deciding on a numerical value of support. Child support is also a value that may come into play.

In the case of Holbrook v. Holbrook, 103 Wis. 2d 327, 309 N.W.2d 343 (Ct. App. 1981), a wife in a similar situation was awarded a substantial portion of property, included a portion of the husbands retirement benefits, and attorney's fees, as well as, maintenance. However, on appeal, a portion of the property division and attorney's fees were vacated. This means the judgment was rendered void. The support order remained. This is only one scenario out of many.

My advice would be to contact a family law attorney, and provide them with more detail. He/she will be better able to provide you with a probable outcome, and will further advise you on the best course for action.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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