Determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance is left to the sound discretion of the trial court. Wikel v. Wikel, 168 Wis. 2d 278, 483 N.W.2d 292 (Ct. App. 1992). In Wisconsin, the purpose of spousal support is to: a) support the recipient according to the parties’ needs and earning capacities; and b) ensure a fair and equitable financial arrangement. LaRocque v. LaRocque, 139 Wis. 2d 23, 406 N.W.2d 736 (1987). The starting point for a spousal maintenance evaluation of a long-term marriage is to consider an equal division of total income. Schmitt v. Schmitt, 201 WI App. 78, 242 Wis. 2d 565, 626 N.W.2d 14.

The recent unpublished case of Pascual, involved the trial court evaluating a thirty-two marriage with the wife making $73,000/yr and the husband earning $22,000/yr and having an earning capacity of $35,000/yr. The husband also operated a Comic Book Store and the amount of his income from the store was unclear. The Court determined the fact of the long-term marriage favored a 50/50 division of the total yearly income of $95,000, and awarded the husband $125/week until he obtained full-time employment (met his earning capacity) after which husband would receive $100/week.
In Wisconsin, since there are no hard-and-fast rules to determine spousal maintenance, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced family law attorney in evaluating (and advocating on your behalf) if, how much, and for how long maintenance should be expected in each individual case.

** Entries posted on this blog shall not be deemed legal advice. For individual attention to your particular legal situation, consult a qualified attorney.** The information in this blog is provided by Minnesota and Wisconsin Family Law attorney Dan Murray. Attorney Dan Murray represents individuals with family matters including: divorce, legal custody, physical placement, and high-income and complex-property/business matters –throughout Western Wisconsin. Feel free to contact Dan at rodlibeskar.com