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Which factors determine spousal support in Wisconsin?

During a divorce, when someone requests alimony -- otherwise known as spousal support or spousal maintenance in Wisconsin -- the court will consider numerous factors before making a decision. These factors affect whether they will award it, how much is reasonable and for how long the payments will continue.

In these situations, there can be a lot on the line. Therefore, knowing what the factors are can help you prepare accordingly.

Financial factors

Broadly speaking, spousal maintenance is to provide some balance after divorce if one spouse was financially dependent on the other during a marriage. Therefore, financial details will be among the most important factors that can dictate alimony awards. This includes:

  • Each spouse's income
  • Details on how the parties divided property
  • Employment, as well as the training and education it would require for a dependent spouse to become gainfully employed
  • Earning capacity of each person
  • Tax consequences

Marital factors

Details of your marital relationship can also affect whether a person receives alimony. More specifically, the courts will consider:

  • Efforts made by one spouse to the increased earning power or education of the other spouse during the marriage
  • Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Marital abuse or manipulation, in some cases
  • The length of your marriage

Other factors 

Having a prenuptial agreement that addresses alimony will be a powerful factor. This agreement can dictate whether a person receives alimony, how much payments will be and the duration of payments. 

The courts will also consider custodial responsibilities for parents, as well as each person's age and health.

What to expect in your case

Whether you are seeking alimony or your ex is requesting that you pay it, it is important to understand which factors can affect awards. Such information will be crucial, whether you are heading into court or mediation sessions to resolve support-related issues.

Keep in mind that every case is different, and the needs and capabilities of each person must be examined carefully when someone requests alimony. As such, it would be wise to avoid making any assumptions or agreements without first consulting your attorney. 

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Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. | 14170 West Greenfield Avenue | Brookfield, WI 53005 | Phone: 262-649-1241 | Map & Directions