Maintenance, or spousal support, is most often ordered by the court from one spouse to another when one spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage.
Typically, maintenance is intended to be “rehabilitative” and used to help the financially dependent spouse work towards a place where he/she can support his/herself.
Factors that the court considers when determining the appropriate maintenance amount are the following:
- 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.
- Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.
Length of the marriage is one of the main factors used in determining maintenance, so it prompts the question, what happens if you marry the same person more than once? This may seem like a unique circumstance, but in our line of work we see situations like this more often than you would think.
When parties have been married to each other more than once, the court can look at the total years of marriage when determining the maintenance amount granted. The court may look to current conditions in determining maintenance, as it is not legally bound by the terms of the first divorce.
Please note, if an ex who is receiving maintenance payments (“payee”) remarries another person who is not a former spouse, maintenance ends automatically under Wisconsin law if the person obligated to make payments: (1) has proof of remarriage, (2) requests that the court vacate the current maintenance order, and (3) sends a copy of the request to the payee.
If you have any questions regarding maintenance, please contact our office at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website for more information.