In the State of Wisconsin, a Court may enter maintenance for a limited or indefinite period of time. Maintenance is commonly referred to as Spousal Support or Alimony. The Court orders maintenance for fairness and support. The family law experts at Renier Hotopp Law Offices, LLC are here to provide support and guidance through these processes.

What Does Court-Ordered Maintenance Involve?

In determining the amount of maintenance, the Court considers various factors, and some of the factors include:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The education and earning capacity of each spouse.
  • The contribution of one spouse to the education, or increased earning power of the other spouse.
  • The feasibility that the spouse seeking alimony can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard enjoyed during the marriage.
  • The division of property.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of each spouse.

The court is not obligated to consider all of the factors,but rather must only consider the factors that are relevant to your case, and as such, the court has flexibility in awarding and the length and term of maintenance.

Determining Maintenance

Given the court’s flexibility in applying some or all of the alimony/maintenance factors, there is no specific formula in calculating the amount of maintenance, as there is in calculating child support. Maintenance may be the result of an agreement/stipulation or a contested hearing. If it’s a result of an agreement or stipulation, the parties will agree on the amount and the term, may agree on a lump sum maintenance buy-out. If it’s the result of a contested hearing, a court may order a maintenance award for a fixed duration, or it may be indefinite; a court may not order a maintenance buy-out.

Because of the wide range of maintenance/alimony calculations, you will want to be sure to hire an attorney who is skilled in negotiating maintenance/alimony and understands the factors and how they impact your case. Additionally, an attorney experienced in this area can structure a settlement that will benefit you, such as a maintenance buy-out.

FAQs about Alimony/Maintenance

How long does maintenance last?

The Court can set a definite term for maintenance; however, usually in a very long-term marriage, if the parties are older or where the person requesting maintenance is unable to work, the Court will Order indefinite maintenance. If maintenance is ordered for a definite period of time and the receiving party maintenance wants it to continue, that party can file a motion requesting an extension. The Motion to Extend Maintenance must be filed before the term of maintenance expires.

What if I want to change the maintenance that the court set?

An ex-spouse must prove a material change in the financial or living circumstances to move the Court to modify maintenance. The court is generally required to consider the same set of factors it considered when setting the original maintenance order. Also, a motion to modify maintenance must be filed prior to the end of the maintenance period, if it was for a fixed period of time.

Can I request the court change non-modifiable maintenance?

No; if an ex-spouse agrees in his/her Marital Settlement Agreement that the maintenance award is non-modifiable, the parties stipulate that the court shall have no further jurisdiction over the issue. The terms of the agreement are binding on the parties, regardless of any subsequent claims by either party about a change in their circumstances.

If I waive maintenance, can I come back and get it later?

If parties waive maintenance in their Marital Settlement Agreement, the parties cannot request it later for any reason.

Request a Legal Consultation Today

The attorneys here at Renier Hotopp Law Offices, LLC are highly experienced and have handled contentious cases involving alimony and maintenance trials and settlements. For assistance with your divorce case involving maintenance, call (262) 977-7717 or email: [email protected]