Understanding maintenance payments

| Oct 13, 2020 | Family Law |

In Wisconsin, there are detailed laws about how marriages are dissolved and what happens afterward. When spouses separate, divorce or have a marriage annulled, there’s the possibility that the court will order one party to make maintenance payments to the other. In some states, these payments are also known as alimony.

Maintenance payments can be a big issue when one spouse earns more than the other. Sometimes, one spouse gives up his or her career to support the other’s endeavors. In a happy marriage, this can be a great arrangement, but when couples break up, it can get very contentious.

Judges have wide latitude when it comes to awarding maintenance payments in Wisconsin. However, they do take several issues into account when making their determination. One important consideration is the length of the marriage. If someone is getting an annulment the week after an elopement, they’re less likely to have maintenance payments than a couple married for 20 years.

Age, health, education and earning potential of the spouses involved are also elements that will influence a judge’s decision. The contribution of one spouse toward the education of another is also carefully considered. If one partner pays tuition to medical school for the other, that’s a serious contribution to their lifetime earnings. Sometimes, maintenance payments are awarded indefinitely. At other times, there’s a fixed duration for these payments.

A family law lawyer may be able to help their client receive a fair judgement when it comes to maintenance payments. Experienced attorneys may give their client an idea of what to expect and explain how the judge might rule. An attorney may work to present the best case for their client and get them what they need to maintain a living after the divorce.