Spousal Maintenance Attorney in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Maintenance (sometimes known as “alimony”) is frequently one of the most hotly disputed areas of a Wisconsin divorce because Wisconsin law does not create strict requirements for spousal maintenance.
The question of who, if either, would be obliged to pay spousal maintenance is one of the questions that must be settled when couples in Wisconsin divorce. Although spousal maintenance is not always necessary, when it is, it is sometimes one of the most contentious (or intensively discussed) divorce-related problems. This is so because spousal maintenance determination in Wisconsin law is not subject to the same exacting standards as property partition or child support.
This is not to imply that matters like property partition and child support are simple; in reality, they rarely are. Instead, it means that couples must carefully analyze how any order of maintenance would affect the final result of their divorce.
Our knowledgeable spousal maintenance attorney at the Gage-Michaels Law Firm has experience assisting divorcing spouses in their efforts to include (or exclude) a maintenance award from their divorce.
Why Do You Need a Spousal Maintenance Attorney in Wisconsin?
If you have been served with a divorce decree and are experiencing emotional pain, you need to know that hiring an experienced alimony attorney can help. There are times when dealing with the financial outcome of a divorce is more difficult than others. Our skilled Wisconsin spousal maintenance attorney can help make sure you get through it in the most favorable way possible.
We are Skilled in What We’re Discussing
Our committed spousal maintenance attorney is well-versed in the laws and procedures. In addition, we may share our knowledge of the law and our experience with divorce disputes in general.
People going through divorce frequently let their emotions get the better of them. We will act as a neutral arbiter who can advise you on how to manage your assets. You won’t need to be concerned about our feelings interfering with the case.
Additionally, we can assist you in concluding that you would not have known about it otherwise. For instance, we can assist you in determining an equitable asset division arrangement.
We Have Reliable Experience
Our experienced spousal maintenance attorney has seen enough cases like yours to be able to give you the best possible advice on how to proceed with your case. An inexperienced attorney may not know the ins and outs of your situation or may have never had a client like you before. You can rest assured that hiring us means that you will get the best possible outcome for your case.
We Can Help You Through It
Alimony is a form of financial support that allows a spouse to live on in their home after divorce. If your divorce decree states that the other spouse must pay you alimony and you’re not currently receiving it, there are some things you can do to protect your financial future.
You don’t have to wait until your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy to start fighting for your rights. Hiring our skilled spousal maintenance attorney will help ensure that any money that should be going to you is actually being paid out and that it goes directly into the bank account where it belongs.
We Can Help You Avoid Mistakes
Alimony laws vary by state, but typically, a court orders alimony after determining that there is a need for it in a divorce. The court will consider several factors when deciding how much and for how long alimony should be awarded. In some cases, one spouse may be ordered to pay more than the other.
The best way to avoid mistakes when dealing with alimony is to hire our experienced spousal maintenance attorney who can help you navigate the complex maze of laws and rules that surround this issue. We will also help ensure all your rights are protected during the divorce process – which can be stressful enough without having legal issues thrown into the mix.
We Know the Legal System
When you hire Gage-Michaels Law Firm, we know how to navigate through the legal system. Our skilled spousal maintenance attorney knows what questions to ask and how to find answers. We can also help you fight for more money or a reduction in your alimony payments. The last thing you want is an attorney who doesn’t know what they are doing when it comes to navigating through the legal system.
We Can Handle the Arguments
The alimony dispute can be a complicated and emotional issue for many people. It’s important to handle your case with the right professional representation because if you don’t, you could end up losing money or having to pay more in the long run than you should.
When you hire our competent spousal maintenance attorney, we handle all of the paperwork and arguments on your behalf. We know what documents need to be filed and when they need to be filed. We know how to file motions in court and when those motions should be filed. We also know how to deal with judges and opposing counsel during hearings, so that everyone gets what they need from the case.
In addition to handling all of these details, we will also handle negotiations between both parties involved in your case. This is critical because it allows us to bring about a settlement without going through litigation altogether – saving everyone time and money.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is essentially the payment made by one spouse to the other after divorce or while a divorce case is pending, either as per court order or as per the couple’s agreement. States refer to alimony in a variety of ways, such as spousal support and maintenance, although they all generally imply the same thing.
State alimony laws also govern how it operates and how judges determine when, how much, and how long to give spousal support. When you’re thinking about alimony, it might help to know a couple of things it is not:
- A divorced couple’s financial status cannot be balanced by the payment of alimony. Instead, it usually aims to ensure that both partners can fulfill their financial obligations.
- Not only ex-wives are eligible for spousal maintenance. Many states now have gender-neutral divorce laws, and some women may suddenly find themselves being required to pay alimony to their ex-husbands, at least temporarily.
There are three different kinds of alimony (although some states use other terms, and a few states have additional variations):
- temporary alimony that lasts only until the divorce is final
- rehabilitative support that’s meant to help the recipients make the transition to supporting themselves
- permanent support
Although many states refer to any alimony that is granted as part of the final divorce decision as “permanent” spousal support, in reality, those payments very infrequently continue for the duration of the recipient’s life. True perpetual alimony is often saved for cases like protracted marriages when one spouse didn’t work for a long time and isn’t expected to ever become financially independent due to age or other factors.
Even rehabilitative alimony is often only paid to ex-spouses who fell behind in their schooling or job because they spent a lot of time caring for the home and the children. Judges, for instance, seldom grant alimony when the marriage lasts only a year or two. In reality, alimony awards are only permitted by some state statutes after the couple has been married for a specific period.
How Does Alimony Work?
Alimony is paid regularly, usually in installments of a specified sum each month. A judge may occasionally direct one spouse to transfer assets or pay the other spouse a lump sum (separate from the regular process of dividing the couple’s marital property) as maintenance.
Lump-sum awarded alimony cannot be reversed. However, unless the initial court order (or agreement) clearly stated that periodic alimony payments were “nonmodifiable,” you may often seek the court to modify or terminate them. You will need to persuade the judge that the modification or termination of maintenance is necessary due to a material change in your or your spouse’s circumstances, such as the retirement of the paying spouse or the beginning of a supported spouse’s new lucrative career.
Some situations, including when the supported spouse marries again or both spouses pass away, result in the automatic termination of periodic alimony. Other situations, such as when the supported spouse begins living with a partner, may cause alimony to stop or justify a reduction in payments, depending on the rules in your state, if they materially impact the recipient’s need for support.
When you file for divorce (or answer your spouse’s petition), you often include a request for spousal support in your first filing. You will need to submit a formal motion (request) requesting a court to decide for you if you and your spouse are unable to agree on the matter at any time throughout the procedure. The court will set a hearing so that both parties can submit their arguments and supporting documentation. The judge will make a ruling after taking all of the arguments and evidence into account.
Neither spouse may subsequently approach the court for spousal support if there wasn’t a request for it made during the divorce and it wasn’t addressed in the final divorce decision.
What are the Factors for Calculating Spousal Maintenance in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin divorce statute does offer a list of factors that should be taken into account when creating a maintenance judgment, even though there are no clear rules for determining spousal support.
Couples should often consider them while discussing maintenance as part of an out-of-court divorce settlement since these are the elements that a judge would use to assess a maintenance request.
The spousal maintenance factors in Wisconsin are:
- The length of the marriage.
- The age, physical health, and emotional health of each spouse.
- The division of the spouses’ marital estate.
- Each spouse’s education level at the time of marriage and at the time of filing for divorce.
- The earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance – which considers education, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, and child custody obligations.
- The feasibility of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-supporting at the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
- The tax consequences to each party if maintenance is awarded.
- The relevant terms of any prenuptial agreement between the parties.
- Each spouse’s contributions to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power.
- Other factors are relevant based on the circumstances involved.
In general, a maintenance award should be geared at ensuring that both spouses may continue to live up to the level of living they experienced throughout the marriage, especially if they both made equal contributions (though not necessarily financial ones) to their marital union.
How to Calculate Spousal Maintenance?
The terms “alimony,” “spousal support,” and “spousal maintenance” are interchangeable. Although the Wisconsin courts refer to it as spousal maintenance, most people refer to it as alimony. All of these terms describe situations where the court directs one party to provide the other with a certain sum of money over a specific period.
Spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis in Wisconsin.
The court recognizes the worth of all types of marital labor. They are aware that returning to the workforce is not simple. They also understand how challenging it may be for someone who hasn’t had a job for a time.
An evaluation of earning capacity looks at how much the person seeking alimony could reasonably make. Standard or rehabilitative alimony may result from this. Standard provides income supplements, and rehabilitation pays for the expense of schooling or job training. That’s why an evaluation of earning capacity considers a person
- employment skills
- educational background
- length of absence from the job market
- custodial responsibilities for any children
- expenses required to gain needed training or education
A vocational evaluation may also be conducted if the partner who would pay alimony isn’t earning as much as they could.
A vocational evaluation is an analysis by a Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant. The assessment establishes whether a party might or ought to be earning more than they do. When the court directs a party to pay maintenance based on what they should be earning, this can often result in “imputing” income.
Standard of Living
When it comes to alimony, one of those expressions that are frequently used is “standard of living.” When determining whether a party needs maintenance to enjoy the same financial freedoms as they enjoyed during the marriage, it is employed. This factor is significant since it has an immediate effect on how much alimony a person receives.
Tax Consequences of Spousal Maintenance
The effects of alimony on taxes changed in 2019. Alimony payments made by the payer are no longer tax deductible. Additionally, the individual receiving alimony is exempt from paying income tax on it.
What Are the Special Considerations When Calculating Spousal Support in Wisconsin?
Below are some considerations that need to take into account when someone is being awarded spousal maintenance in Wisconsin.
Length of Spousal Support
In Wisconsin, the length of spousal support is based on how long the parties were married. It is less probable that maintenance will be required in marriages that have only lasted ten years. The court may mandate permanent support in cases involving marriages that have lasted more than 20 years.
Types of Alimony
Four types of alimony can be awarded in Wisconsin. The kinds are determined by the alimony’s purpose and method of payment. Unless it is interim alimony paid while the divorce is pending, alimony starts when the divorce is finalized.
Changing a Support Order
If there is a significant change in a party’s finances, any party may seek to have their alimony modified. Modifying assistance may entail stopping or modifying payments.
What are the Different Types of Alimony in Wisconsin?
To be sure that the final divorce ruling will be fair for you and give you a solid and secure financial future, talk about your alimony choices with our skilled Wisconsin spousal maintenance attorney.
Support payments mandated by the court to be made up until the divorce is final are known as temporary alimony. This order will be determined during what is called a “Temporary Orders Hearing.”
This alimony order typically arises during lengthy divorce proceedings as a means of providing financial support to the spouse who earns less while the divorce is ongoing. Once the divorce is finalized, a new form of alimony is typically mandated.
Permanent alimony, as the name implies, is alimony that is paid permanently. Only one of the two spouses passing away or the receiver getting remarried would prevent permanent alimony from being required to be paid. Rarely, although it’s possible, the beneficiary may still be entitled to payment even after getting remarried.
Even though this type of alimony is permanent, the amount paid is not. This is nevertheless subject to variation depending on the payer’s or recipient changing circumstances.
Reimbursement spousal support is another temporary form of alimony. What sets it apart from temporary alimony is that it doesn’t have a certain date on which it is terminated. Instead, it is paid up until the other party receives a certain amount.
The purpose of reimbursement spousal support is to reimburse one spouse for costs that the other spouse directly caused.
The most typical example is to reimburse the expense of higher education if one spouse works to support the other spouse’s education. The spouse who is in charge of repaying the other spouse may do it in one lump payment or over a certain length of time.
A type of alimony known as lump-sum alimony is paid all at once as opposed to having to deal with monthly payments spread out over a long period. When a property settlement is not a possibility, lump-sum payments are typically seen as a kind of alimony.
A distinctive feature of lump-sum alimony is that it is much more enduring than permanent alimony. The rationale for this is that permanent alimony can still be changed when a former couple’s circumstances change.
Lump-sum does not take into account upcoming events or changes in circumstances because it is paid in whole. You’ll want to be sure that our experienced spousal maintenance attorney has worked with you on your case because the decision cannot be changed for any reason due to how permanent it is.
What is the Duration of Spousal Maintenance?
The length of a maintenance award is also quite flexible, much like other aspects of spousal maintenance. While Wisconsin law provides that maintenance “terminates upon the death of the payee or the payer, whichever occurs first,” subject to this limitation, the parties (or the court) can prescribe any duration for a maintenance award.
But keep in mind that the maintenance award should be designed to achieve the goal of enabling both spouses to preserve their marital level of life. While there are rare instances when this can justify granting unlimited maintenance, it’s more typical for a maintenance award to contain a deadline by which the winner is expected to become self-sufficient.
In most cases, maintenance will also end if the receiver remarries or moves in with a new spouse.
What is the Modification Standard of Spousal Maintenance in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) is often paid for a certain length of time. Spousal maintenance may be indefinite under unusual circumstances, such as when a marriage has lasted a particularly long time. Either spouse may ask for a revision of spousal maintenance at any moment during that time if the situation calls for it.
When there has been a “substantial change in circumstances,” spousal support may be modified following Wisconsin law. This implies that one party cannot just ask for a change because they think they need more money, comparable to the criterion for modifying child support. Instead, the spouse needs to demonstrate that their life has altered significantly.
This can entail the paying spouse losing their work or experiencing a sudden disability that makes it unable to continue making the present maintenance payments. Additional funds may be required by the spouse receiving payments due to, among other things, health difficulties involving the children or the recipient spouse’s inability to work.
Spousal maintenance may also be completely discontinued in some cases. When one spouse passes away, the other remarries, or the recipient spouse moves in with someone else, the necessity for maintenance payments ends.
How to Request a Modification of Spousal Maintenance in Wisconsin?
In a divorce, the court will often specify spousal maintenance in order. Therefore, the asking spouse must go to court and ask for a fresh order to have that maintenance adjusted. A petition for modification must be submitted to the court by the party asking for the modification, outlining the precise change in circumstances that have taken place.
A demand for a modification of spousal maintenance should be backed up by evidence. For instance, documentation of a person’s handicap will be required if they were recently certified disabled.
The court will probably set a hearing after evaluating the petition so that both parties may present their views in support of the change request. Additionally, the court will be able to collect more information and proof on the sort of adjustment that will be fair as a result.
The new amount of spousal maintenance will be determined by the court using many of the same considerations used to make the original order, including current income, the possibility of future income, and even the tax ramifications of the change in spousal income.
You must carefully analyze the justification for your request if you’re thinking about asking for spousal maintenance to be modified in your divorce case. You probably won’t get a modification from the court if you believe you are entitled to a higher level of living or just want greater freedom to buy the goods you desire.
However, if your situation at work has significantly changed, you have developed new health problems, or your earning potential has significantly decreased, the court might need to consider modifying the agreement.
Get in Touch with a Reliable Spousal Maintenance Attorney in Wisconsin Today!
If the parties are unable to agree on a solution, the court will decide on maintenance at the judge’s exclusive discretion. The court must consider the case’s facts and both sides’ arguments in light of the aforementioned considerations. As a result, it is vital to talk with our spousal maintenance attorney with experience.
In a specific circumstance, we are aware of which information is most crucial. We also understand how to efficiently build maintenance (alimony) settlements, ensuring that all relevant elements are taken into account in the calculations and that assistance lasts for the permitted period.
Gage-Michaels Law Firm has concentrated primarily on family law for years. We know the law and we have handled numerous difficult and contentious divorce cases for clients who own businesses, who have substantial estates, and who have a large number of assets.
For an initial consultation with our experienced spousal maintenance attorney, call us now. We represent clients in Green Bay and around Wisconsin.