Alimony during Divorce Proceedings in Wisconsin

To get alimony during a divorce in Wisconsin you will need to meet the following criteria: your marriage must be longer than 10 years (this is not the rule, but rather the norm) and the income disparity between you and your spouse must be substantial.

To get alimony during a divorce in Wisconsin you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Your marriage must be longer than 10 years (this is not the rule, but rather the norm)
  • The income disparity between you and your spouse must be substantial such as the husband makes $70,000 per year and the wife makes $25,000 per year.

These would be minimum requirements for consideration.

Alimony Defined by Wisconsin Statutes

Alimony is money paid from one spouse to another in order to even out potential economic effects after a divorce. Sometimes referred to as maintenance or spousal support in Wisconsin, alimony ensures that as individuals, neither person is better off than the other and both spouses have an equitable standard of living post divorce. The legal basis for alimony is to establish financial equality between divorcing parties. A typical example is where one party gives up their career to be a homemaker to enhance the ability of the other party to chase higher career levels.

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During every divorce in Wisconsin a Financial Disclosure will be conducted. This document will be the guide for spousal support and property division negotiations.

How Wisconsin Courts Determine Alimony during a Divorce

Depending on the length of the marriage Wisconsin courts will use these factors to determine alimony:

  1. The length of the marriage (10 years is the magic number)
  2. Age and physical and emotional health of the parties
  3. Division of property orders (if there is a significant amount of separate property the court may award alimony in lieu of property)
  4. Educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
  5. Earning capacity of both parties, educational background, work experience, absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and expenses necessary to acquire appropriate employment
  6. Likelihood the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting
  7. Tax consequences to each party
  8. Mutual agreements made by the parties before or during the marriage
  9. Contribution by one party to the increased earning power of the other
  10. Other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant (source).

Since Wisconsin does not have a clear formula for alimony, it is critical you understand what the law describes as equitable. Ensure your order considers all income and expense privy to the marriage and you are getting an order that considers all circumstances, including age, health and income potential. An equitable order will ensure your future is not rife with financial burden.

Are you ready to move forward? Call (262) 221-8123 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you have to be married to get alimony in WI?

The length of alimony depends on the length of the marriage. In general, once you have been in a marriage for ten years, you can get alimony for half the length of the marriage. However, judges have a lot of discretion in these cases, so they could order alimony even in a shorter marriage.

How can you avoid alimony?

To avoid alimony, make sure that the other party is self-sustaining. If they have the skills and/or education level to make a substantial income, then they won’t need alimony.

How is alimony determined?

The court determines alimony by looking at the alimony factors. The alimony factors include things like the length of the marriage, how property gets divided, and each party’s earning capacity.

Who pays alimony in a divorce?

If alimony is ordered in your divorce, the party who has a greater income or has significantly more assets is the one who will pay alimony. But alimony is not ordered in every case.

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