Can I get spousal support?

Spousal support is awarded by the court in certain situations or by agreement of the parties. Many factors affect the likelihood of whether a person will be awarded spousal support. Wisconsin courts consider ten factors in determining a spousal support award, including:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The division of property made in the divorce.
  • The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.
  • The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment.
  • The feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
  • The tax consequences to each party.
  • Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage, according to the terms of which one party has made financial or service contributions to the other with the expectation of reciprocation or other compensation in the future, where such repayment has not been made, or any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning any arrangement for the financial support of the parties.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.

These factors will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine your likelihood of an award of spousal support due to the wide range of circumstances and factors that impact such an award. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.

How is child support determined?

Child support means payment of money for the support of a child, including payment of medical, dental, and other health care expenses; child care expenses; and educational expenses. It is determined according to the guidelines established under Wisconsin law. The amount of child support owed is based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income and other relevant factors such as parental overnights, needs of the child, and expenses, such as insurance or day care. Based upon the accuracy of the information that you provide regarding the incomes and parenting arrangements of the parties, an estimated calculation of child support can usually be given at your consultation.

How much will it cost me to be represented by an attorney?

Because each case has a unique set of circumstances and facts, legal fees for representing you in your family court action will be discussed during your consultation with our office. However, the overall cost of legal fees will largely depend upon the ability of the parties to work together to resolve the divorce action in the best interests of all involved. If reconciliation is ruled out as an option, then it is important that both parties stay focused on obtaining an equitable separation, which will drastically reduce the length of the process and overall fees involved.

How long does the process take?

The amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce varies widely depending on the circumstances of the parties. Uncontested divorce proceedings can be resolved in a matter of several months, while highly contested cases may take up to a year or more. Whether there are children born to the marriage and the amount of property that the couple owned are factors that may affect the length and complexity of the divorce proceeding. The more parties are willing to work together to reconcile their differences, the less time and money will be expended resolving such disagreements in court.

What are the grounds for a divorce?

In Wisconsin, there is no need to show wrongful behavior on the part of either spouse in order for a couple to obtain a divorce. The only requirement is that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. While Wisconsin is a "no-fault" divorce state and marital misconduct will not be considered in awarding spousal support, child support, or child custody, in certain situations the fault of one party leading to the breakdown of the marriage can be considered, for example, if it affects the children or involved economic waste. Therefore, it is important to have dependable legal representation during divorce.

Why do I need a family law attorney?

Divorce, custody, parenting time, and support actions are filled with many decisions that affect your rights in relation to your children, finances, and property. Each of these can have a profound emotional impact, and it is important that these life altering decisions are carefully thought out with the guidance of sound legal advice and based upon a reasonable judgment of what is best for you, not based solely upon emotion. A family law attorney can advise you of your rights and help you to obtain a separation that protects your welfare and interests, as well as those of your children and family, while delicately balancing the emotions involved.