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Understanding alimony awards

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2022 | Spousal Support |

In many Wisconsin divorces the question of spousal support might come up. In some situations, the couple might reach an agreement on the support payments, while in others, the court might order the payments. However, unlike child support, alimony is not automatically considered or required by the court.

What is the purpose of alimony payments?

The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to an ex-spouse who might have been the stay-at-home or lower-earning spouse, to balance the financial repercussions of divorce. However, alimony is not meant to be punitive, so alimony awards are partially based on what the paying spouse can afford while still supporting themselves.

How long does alimony last?

In many cases, alimony is temporary financial support. How long it lasts depends on each couple’s situation. For example, alimony might be awarded short-term, while the recipient acquires additional education or preparation to reenter the workforce or seek employment with higher pay. It might also be awarded for a longer period, even throughout the receiving spouse’s life, depending on that spouse’s age and health. In most cases, however, it ends if the recipient remarries.

What do courts consider when awarding alimony?

Courts study a variety of factors when deciding whether to award alimony, for how long and how much. These factors include:

  • Each spouse’s physical and emotional health as well as their ages
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage
  • How many years the couple was married
  • How long the recipient would need to acquire additional education or training in preparation for working
  • How capable the payer is of making alimony payments while still supporting themselves

Alimony can be a vital source of financial support after divorce, particularly as a lower-earning or non-working spouse gets ready for single life. Couples should discuss and negotiate alimony payments in good faith during their divorce settlement negotiations.