Divergent is Your Spousal Support Advocate
Spousal Maintenance -What is it?
Spousal support or, “spousal maintenance,” as the court refers to it, or “alimony,” as the general public refers to it, is the obligation of one spouse to pay the other spouse after the divorce has been finalized. Its purpose is to ensure that both parties have a fair and equal division of finances based upon each of their earning capabilities, and for the receiving party to maintain a similar standard of living than they had during the course of the marriage. However, a prenuptial agreement may also affect how spousal support is granted. Outside of an agreement, the court has a lot of discretion in regards to spousal support.
Spousal maintenance is just one of many things to consider when determining the cost of your divorce. To look at all the factors influencing your final divorce cost contact the Divergent Family Law experts in Milwaukee, Glendale, Brookfield, Appleton, & Madison, or see also: How much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin?
How is Alimony Determined?
In Wisconsin, alimony may be ordered by the court for a fixed period of time after the finalization of the divorce. The court looks at various factors to decide how much alimony is to be granted to one spouse. Common standard factors the courts examine when determining alimony are as follows:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The health and age of each party
- The education level at the time of divorce
- The earning capacity of the party seeking alimony
- The tax consequences
- The previous agreements by the parties
Health insurance benefits are treated similarly to alimony in many cases.
What is an Example of When Spousal Support is Needed?
A common example of when spousal support is appropriate can be when one party worked while the other stayed home to care for the children, the courts consider this a “homemaker.” Upon divorce, the homemaker would likely need support because it is unlikely they have an income or work experience. The courts may consider the homemaker's contributions as, “non-economic,” which means that even though they did not contribute any income, they took care of the home and children while the other party worked, constituting as a substantial contribution to the marriage.
How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support?
Alimony is not a given for every divorce. There are circumstances where spousal support is not appropriate and can be avoided altogether. Our experienced attorneys at Divergent Family Law can work with you to help ensure you are in the best position possible to avoid a spousal support obligation. However, if it is ordered, spousal support can be modified and terminated by court order upon a substantial change in circumstances in most instances. We are happy to counsel you on your specific case and help figure out what is in your best interests in regards to spousal maintenance.
Divorce Maintenance and Buyouts
In Wisconsin, the court may order maintenance (formerly known as spousal support or alimony) when a marriage ends by legal separation or divorce. Maintenance is governed by Wis. Stats. Sec. 767.56(1c). Maintenance is typically awarded in a set monetary amount and time period.
Why Consider a Maintenance Buyout?
In some cases, the parties consider a maintenance buyout, which is a lump sum payment for support in full or in part to eliminate or reduce monthly support payments. Several financial aspects must be considered in a maintenance buyout, such as discounts for taxes, present value of money, remarriage and death of either party.
Lump Sum Payment Advantages:
- Allow both parties to sever ties and go their separate ways
- Offer convenience over smaller monthly payments
- Are useful for large purchases arising after divorce
Form of Maintenance Buyouts
Oftentimes the maintenance buyout is in the form of an unequal distribution of the property and debt division in a case. After the equalization of property, the maintenance buyout will come from the payor’s half of his or her property division.
Strategies for Maintenance Buyouts
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to determining a lump sum maintenance buyout. If you're not careful, you could wind up with an unfair divorce settlement agreement. Work with one of the attorneys at Divergent Family Law for the best outcome.
The all-inclusive Wisconsin family law firm
Our awarded legal team will be with you every step of the way to ensure you retain what’s yours and get you what you are entitled to. Contact Divergent Family Law today to discuss your spousal support arrangement.
References: Maintenance Wisconsin State Legislature: 767.56 (1c) (2023). |