Alimony in the state of Wisconsin is also referred to as Spousal Maintenance or Spousal Support.
Alimony refers to the payment made from one ex-spouse to the other in order to financially support the other spouse, after a divorce.
Spousal Maintenance is often as a temporary source of financial support for the spouse receiving support, as a result of this spouse being dependent on the other during the course of the marriage.
The system of Alimony has been designed by the state of Wisconsin such that when the other spouse starts to support his or herself or remarries, this support stops.
It is not necessary that the court becomes involved in the process of spousal maintenance. It is possible for spouses to agree on the amount that will be paid from one spouse to the other and also the length for which this amount will be paid.
This can be done without the court intervening in the issue. It is usually when there is no agreement between the spouses concerning spousal maintenance that the court is brought into the matter and the court decides whether to award alimony or not, how the payment for alimony should be made and the length of time for which the payment should be continued.
Factors Considered for Being Paid Spousal Maintenance
Before the State of Wisconsin can decide to award spouses alimony, there are quite a number of factors that the courts have to look at.
The state of Wisconsin has no definitive structure concerning the manner with which the spousal maintenance must be ordered if they should be ordered.
Whatever the decision the court decides to make, it is often within their discretion. This gives the court considerable power in deciding the factors to consider and the importance to give each factor.
These factors include;
- The length of the marriage
- The earning abilities and employment skills of the spouse seeking support
- The age, and education of the spouses involved.
- The physical and emotional health of the parties involved.
- The agreements that were made between the spouses, if any, during the marriage or before it
- The scope and the time that the spouse that is being supported requires to become independent.
- The division of assets gained during the marriage and the tax consequences to both spouses
- The guardianship of the child born with the responsibilities and issues attached to it.
- The contributions made in making the home and also in developing the other.
- The probability of the party seeking alimony to become self-supporting and be able to afford a standard of living that is comparable (to a degree), to the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage.
- And other factors considered by the court as important.
How much alimony to be awarded
It is important to note that the court does not award maintenance. Provided that the marriage has lasted a long time, and one spouse is capable of paying maintenance, it only ensures that:
- The net disposable incomes of both spouses are equally allocated, or
- The budget needs of the spouse receiving alimony are met, provided they are reasonable.
- The spouse receiving alimony is able to maintain a similar standard of living, or one equal to the one enjoyed during the marriage.
How long alimony should last
The length of time for alimony is often set by the court. However, there are exceptions to this rule to make alimony last indefinitely, and it includes:
- The length of marriage and
- The inability of spouse requesting alimony to work.
Changing and Modifying Payments
It is possible for a spouse to request for a change in the payment of alimony. However, unless a substantial change has occurred in the circumstances surrounding the spouses, the court would not modify these payments. Example of which is an increase in the cost of living or the loss of employment etc.