Understanding the Economics of Divorce in Wisconsin

Money spilling from a jar

When a couple decides to divorce, there are many factors to consider and many life changes that happen for both parties involved in the dissolved union. One of the biggest elements that has to be discussed and could be a major point of contention is the couple’s finances. 

Alimony can be a part of any divorce settlement. In some relationships, there is one spouse that depends greatly on the income of the other. When divorce takes place, alimony is a way to help soften the economic blow that the dependant spouse faces. 

Many divorcing couples will find that they can come to an agreeable solution on alimony without getting the courts involved. A marital settlement agreement is put together with the terms of the length of time and the amount of alimony payments to which the divorcing parties have agreed.

 

What Happens When Divorcing Spouses Cannot Agree on Financial Terms?

There are couples who simply cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, including how money is going to be allocated. This is when the courts must get involved. It will be up to the court to determine if alimony will be awarded, and if it is awarded, for how long and at what amount.

Several factors are used to determine the financial aspect of divorce. When children are a part of the situation, it is more complicated for separating couples. In a case in which alimony and child support are necessary, the court may opt to put order family support. This simplifies the payments a bit by adding them together. The courts will still calculate the costs that relate to each of the payments, and then will combine the two.

 

How Does Wisconsin Determine Alimony Payments?

There is no set process or guidelines to figure out what alimony payments will turn out to be. Every situation is different and so is every family. Sometimes the court will order payments for a specific amount of time while in other situations, payments may go on indefinitely. The court will use the following information to add up the costs:

  • Length of the marriage

  • The age of each of the individuals

  • Each person’s physical and emotional health

  • The way marital and individual property was divided

  • The education levels of each party

  • The contributions one spouse may have provided the other to increase their ability to earn more such as helping with education cost

  • The capacity of the spouse asking for payments to make money on his or her own

  • The educational history of the parties asking for payment, their skills, their experience, their training, work experience, and how much time they have spend away from work

  • How much care the children require

  • The effort and cost to get the skills and education to make an income

In addition to all of these factors, tax implications of the arrangement are considered. Other aspects include the life that the spouse receiving the alimony will be living. Specifically, if he or she will be able to maintain a similar quality of life. Any other factors that affected the couple monetarily will also be investigated.

At the end of your divorce proceeding, you will receive your alimony reward. It can be difficult for the lesser-earning spouse to wait until the divorce is finalized to receive this financial assistance. During this time, if the spouse who is asking for alimony needs help, he or she can request to have temporary payments made until the the final judgement has been confirmed.

 

Can Modifications be Made to Alimony Agreements?

The answer is yes. Both parties can request changes to both the temporary and permanent payments. It will require major life disruptions to motivate the court to change alimony. Loss of a job is one of the factors that will directly impact the payments. Other factors that may warrant a modification include:

  • The spouse receiving payments gets married or moves in with another partner

  • An inheritance 

Even in situations in which there is a significant change in the paying spouse’s circumstances, the payment structure that is ordered or agreed upon may not change. When a percentage of income is used to determine payment, a decrease in income will call for a change in the amount paid but not in the percentage that is taken. Think of taking a paycut from $100,000 to $50,000. If the paying spouse is required to pay 5% of his or her income, payments would go from $5,000 to $2,500.

 

What Happens if Alimony Payments are Not Being Made on Time?

A number of things can happen if alimony payments are missed, including interest charges, tax refund intercepts, and liens. Failure to pay alimony might put a person's professional licenses in jeopardy or result in his or her wages being garnished.

 

Get Help From an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Wisconsin

Anyone facing divorce hopes to work through the process as quickly and as amicably as possible. If you are divorcing your spouse, the process may be difficult and take quite a long time. The complex and often frustrating process could call for expert witness testimony, depositions, court hearings, and a trial. 

You need a qualified and experienced Wisconsin divorce litigation attorney to ensure your best interests are protected throughout your divorce process. The Walny Legal Group has many years of experience helping divorcing couples by providing both the sharp negotiation and the aggressive litigation skills to advocate on their behalf. 

The Milwaukee collaborative family law attorneys at the Walney Legal Group care about the outcome when families are undergoing the process of divorce. We will make sure your best interests are protected throughout so that you can be sure you will be taken care of when everything settles. Professional guidance and support when you are divorcing is important. Call the Walney Legal Group today and speak with one of our talented Milwaukee divorce attorneys at (414) 775-3780. We look forward to discussing your family’s unique situation during a free consultation.

Saturday, February 29, 2020
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