Wisconsin Alimony Calculator

Use the alimony calculator below to estimate spousal maintenance in Wisconsin. In a divorce or separation, the court can grant spousal support to the party seeking maintenance. The court makes its decision based on factors including earning capacity, standard of living, and tax consequences.

There are no formulas in Wisconsin’s alimony laws that outline how much to pay based on percentages of income or anything like that. This makes it difficult to estimate alimony payments on your own.

That’s why we created the calculator below to estimate the payments for you.

How To Calculate Spousal Maintenance

Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance all mean the same thing. Most people call it alimony, but the Wisconsin courts call it spousal maintenance. All these words refer to when the court orders one party to pay the other a set amount of money for a set amount of time.

In Wisconsin, spousal maintenance is calculated on a case-by-case basis. Because of this, the calculator below uses the equations of other states and counties as a basis.
But, to get more exact advice for your situation, schedule a consultation with an attorney at Sterling Law Offices.

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Estimate Alimony Payments*

*Please remember there are NOT percentage guidelines in the Wisconsin statues and these are formulas from other states. The purpose of this calculator is to give an idea of what spousal support payments may look like depending on the circumstances of your case.
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Qualifying for Spousal Maintenance

The Wisconsin courts can grant alimony to either party in cases of annulment, divorce, or legal separation. Whether alimony is awarded depends on the following list of factors:

  1. The length of the marriage.
  2. The property division in the case.
  3. The age and physical and emotional health of each party.
  4. Each party's education level at the beginning and end of the marriage.
  5. The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance.
  6. A party’s contribution to the other’s earning power (education, training, etc.).
  7. Whether the person seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a comparable standard of living.
  8. Any previously made agreements regarding financial support.
  9. The tax consequences to each party.
  10. Any other factors the court decides are relevant.[1]

The reason for divorce cannot be a factor because Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. Some of the factors aren’t as straightforward as others, so below is a deeper look into a few.

Earning Capacity

The court values all types of labor within a marriage. They understand that it’s not easy to get back into the workforce. And, they know it's especially hard for someone who hasn't been working for a while.

An evaluation of earning capacity looks at how much the person seeking alimony could reasonably make. This can lead to standard alimony or rehabilitative alimony. Standard supplements income and rehabilitative covers costs for education or vocational training. That’s why an evaluation of earning capacity considers a persons

  • training,
  • employment skills,
  • educational background,
  • length of absence from the job market,
  • custodial responsibilities for any children, and
  • expenses required to gain needed training or education.

Similarly, if the party who would pay alimony isn't making as much as they could, there can be a vocational evaluation.

Vocational Evaluation

A vocational evaluation is an analysis by a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant. The evaluation determines if a party could or should be making more than they do. In some cases, this leads to “imputing” income, which is when the court orders a party to pay maintenance based on what they should be making.

Standard of Living

Standard of living is one of those terms that gets tossed around a lot when it comes to alimony. It’s used when assessing whether a party needs maintenance to have similar financial freedoms as they did in the marriage. This factor is important because it directly impacts the amount a person gets in alimony.

Tax Consequences of Spousal Maintenance

The tax implications of alimony changed in 2019. The person paying can no longer deduct alimony payments on their taxes. And, the person receiving the alimony doesn't have to pay income tax on it.

Considerations

Length of Spousal Support

The length of spousal support in Wisconsin depends on how long the parties were married. For a marriage under 10 years, it is less likely there will be any maintenance. For long-term marriages over 20 years, the court can order maintenance to last indefinitely.

Types of Alimony

There are four types of alimony that can be awarded in Wisconsin. The types depend on the reason why alimony is paid and how it is paid. Alimony begins at the end of the divorce unless it is temporary alimony for during the divorce.

Changing a Support Order

Either party can file to adjust their alimony if there is a substantial change in a party's finances. Changing support could mean pausing payments or adjusting them.

Are You Entitled To Spousal Maintenance?

Alimony is generally mandated when one spouse will face financial hardship and be unable to maintain his or her standard of living. Spousal maintenance is usually not awarded if both spouses were employed and self-sufficient during the course of the marriage, or if the marriage is of a relatively short (two or three year) duration. Spousal maintenance is independent of property settlement and child support obligations.

What is the Average Amount or Percentage of Alimony?

Since there are no guidelines in Wisconsin for spousal support payments we have provided a few calculators from other states. These are meant to give you an idea of what spousal support might look like depending on the facts of your case. In a divorce case where the parties can’t come to an agreement on spousal support (alimony), it may advance to a trial and the laws in Wisconsin Statutes 767.26 clearly give sole discretion of spousal support to the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is alimony calculated in Wisconsin?

Spousal alimony is calculated based on factors such as the length of the marriage, earning capacity, and future financial expectations. It is done on a case-by-case basis because Wisconsin statutes do not define how to calculate the exact amount.

How much spousal maintenance will be awarded in Wisconsin?

There is no set amount that the court always uses. They figure out the exact amount individually for each case. The court uses the factors above to decide whether alimony should be given, not how much.

How often is alimony awarded in Wisconsin?

The US Census Bureau did a Survey of Income and Program Participation in 2013. They found that of 15 million people who supported someone outside their home, 1.8 million supported their ex-spouse or ex-partner. Of that 1.8 million, 42% were divorced, 10% were separated, and 32% were married. Often, this was paid in alimony or spousal support, but it was not always by court order.[2]

What is the average amount or percentage of alimony?

The 2013 Survey of Income and Program Participation showed that those who paid to support an ex-spouse paid an average of $9,958 for the year.[3]

How can I avoid alimony in Wisconsin?

When alimony is necessary, it cannot be avoided. However, alimony is not always necessary. This could be for a variety of reasons such as neither party needing support, the marriage being short, or having a prenuptial agreement.


References: 1. WI Statute, 767.56 § (1c)(a-j). Maintenance. | 2. Grall, T. (2018). Support Providers: 2013 (Report No. P70BR-158). United States Census Bureau. | 3. Grall, T. (2018).


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