Handling Spousal Support Issues

Often referred to as either alimony or spousal support, maintenance is designed to be fair to both parties coming out of a marriage. During marriage, each party enjoys certain financial benefits, and maintenance is designed to make sure that the termination of the marriage doesn't result in an unfair financial impact on either former spouse.

I am family law attorney Donald Fraker. I help individuals come up with fair alimony plans or creative alternatives.

Give me a call today to arrange a no-cost initial consultation about your case. From my office in Mequon, I serve clients in the Milwaukee area and across Southeastern Wisconsin.

What Factors Are Used In Support Decisions?

Unlike child support, there is no clear-cut formula to follow for spousal maintenance. The court will consider a number of factors, but there is not necessarily uniformity in the weight given to each factor. In most cases, however, a very important factor is the length of marriage:

  • Long-term marriage: Typically considered to be a marriage over 20 years, the earning capacity of each party will be a major determining factor.
  • Medium-term marriage: The court will generally consider awarding maintenance for a specific period of time in a situation where there is a discrepancy in income levels.
  • Short-term marriage: Maintenance may not be considered at all, unless there are unusual circumstances, such as one party having given up a job and now needs training to re-enter the workforce.

If one party waives maintenance at the time of the divorce, he/she cannot seek it later, so we make sure you are informed about that consequence from the start.

Are There Other Types Of Support?

In certain cases, yes.

  • Family support — Family support is a hybrid of maintenance and child support payments. While each party receives tax benefits for maintenance, there are no tax benefits for child support. By combining the two plans into family support, each parent would benefit from the tax break that otherwise would have been limited to maintenance.
  • Section 71 payments — Parties may also waive spousal maintenance for a substitute payment under Section 71 of the Internal Revenue Code which allows for set payments of a specific amount and duration. These are fixed payments agreed to by each party. However, unlike spousal support, these payments are subject to modification only in the limited ways upon which the parties specifically have agreed.

Contact Me Today

As an experienced family lawyer, I can help you explore your options in order to come up with the plan that is most beneficial to your family. Located just off I-43 in Mequon, my office is convenient to clients across Southeast Wisconsin. I offer evening and weekend appointments as well. Contact me today to schedule a free initial consultation.