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Family Maintenance and Alimony

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It is rare for two partners to each contribute to their marriage in an identical way. Far more often, one partner does a larger share of the housework while another contributes to the household with a higher salary or a larger pool of assets, with the goal of creating the most comfortable lifestyle possible for the couple and their children. In Appleton, the median family income is $68,623 per year.

A divorce can mean financial hardship for the spouse who earned less money or even no money at all during the marriage. This can particularly sting if the individual left a high-paying career to be a homemaker. To avoid this type of stress, an individual can seek alimony as part of his or her divorce settlement. If he or she also seeks child support, these two payments may be combined into a lump payment known as family maintenance. However, the two payments are calculated separately.

How is Alimony Calculated in Wisconsin?

Because every marriage is unique, there is no set alimony amount or specific formula for Wisconsin couples. Instead, the court considers a series of factors about a marriage to determine a fair alimony amount. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • Each partner’s earning capacity;
  • The tax obligations an alimony order would impose on both parties;
  • The division of the couple’s property. Wisconsin is a community property state, which means that marital property is divided 50/50 in a divorce. However, the specific assets each partner received may play a role in determining a fair alimony amount;
  • Each partner’s financial contributions to the marriage, such as one party funding the other’s education;
  • Each party’s age and health; and
  • Any existing agreements regarding alimony or property division included in a prenuptial agreement.

In some cases, alimony is awarded for the remainder of the recipient’s life. In others, it is awarded until he or she becomes financially self-sufficient by completing a college education or vocational program. In most cases, an alimony order is terminated when the recipient remarries or enters a cohabitating relationship with a new partner.

Modifying an Alimony Order

If an individual cannot afford to make his or her alimony payments or if the payments are no longer sufficient to cover one’s needs, the individual may petition to modify his or her alimony order. To successfully have an order modified, he or she must submit documentation showing a change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a new relationship, to the court with his or her petition to modify the alimony order.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Divorce Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce or if you are in a position where you need to modify your current alimony arrangement, work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can determine the best course of action for you. Whatever you do, do not simply stop making your required alimony payments. Contact our team of experienced divorce attorneys in Wisconsin at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Get In Touch sidebar with Hammet, Bellin & Oswald, LLC. Attorneys at Law
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Neenah Office 675 Deerwood Avenue Neenah, WI 54956 (920) 720-0000

Appleton Office 4650 W. Spencer Street Appleton, WI 54914 (920) 720-6389