Wisconsin Alimony and Spousal Support Laws

In Wisconsin, spousal support or alimony is called maintenance. The divorce court will determine whether maintenance is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Spousal Support

  • Temporary – awarded for the time between filing for divorce and grant of the final decree.
  • Short-Term – limited award of alimony, often for the receiving spouse to gain an education or skills that will lead to employment. 
  • Long-Term or Permanent – awarded as the court deems needed for a longer duration, often reserved for lengthy marriages.

Who is Eligible for Alimony in Wisconsin?

Either party to a divorce in Wisconsin may seek alimony as part of the final decree. The court will consider each party’s situation in determining whether to award alimony, the amount and duration.

Wisconsin Alimony Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)

The factors a Wisconsin court will consider when determining alimony or maintenance include:

  • Length of the marriage;
  • Age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
  • Division of property made in the divorce;
  • Educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
  • Earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment;
  • Feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal;
  • Tax consequences to each party;
  • Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage;
  • Contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other; and
  • Any other factors the court determines to be relevant.

Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony in Wisconsin

Modification or termination may be considered by the court which granted your dissolution and settlement agreement at any time after the award. The court has discretion and may consider any changed circumstances in adjusting the amount or duration of payments.

Marital Fault in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a no fault divorce state, meaning that marital misconduct including infidelity and abuse are not considered in determining support.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in Wisconsin?

Duration of the marriage is an important factor in determining the length of spousal support. Short marriages often result in no or less award of spousal support. Longer marriages may result in long term or permanent awards.

Wisconsin Alimony Taxes

The spouse receiving alimony must claim payments as income if it is mandated by court order. The paying spouse may deduct the alimony on federal tax returns. Discuss the tax implications of your settlement with an experienced Wisconsin attorney.

Find an Alimony Attorney in Wisconsin

Divorce may impact your future income, so it is in your interest to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney in filing the necessary paperwork and representing your interests in court. A family law attorney will help you through the difficult process of divorce every step of the way.

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