If you are the primary provider in your marriage, a judge may order you to pay spousal support after you divorce. But while Wisconsin law does allow the court to award support, or maintenance, there is no calculator that determines what you pay. So how do judges decide how much support you owe?

A Wisconsin divorce court will look at the unique factors of your marriage and divorce when ruling on spousal support. They will consider how the split affects both you and your spouse when making a decision. Here are a few questions they will ask before ruling on spousal maintenance:

  • How difficult will it be for each spouse to make money? – The judge will consider how you and your spouse have been employed. If your spouse didn’t have a job for most of your marriage, it might take a while before he or she is employable again.
  • How long were you married? – If you stayed married for a long time, the judge might order you to pay support for a longer time.
  • How was the property divided? – In Wisconsin, all your marital property will divide into two equal parts. The court will consider how much property you each get when deciding how to rule on spousal support.
  • How much did your spouse support your ability to earn money? – If you are the higher earner, the judge may consider how much your spouse contributed to your success. If your spouse stayed home to take care of your children and home, a court might consider awarding more spousal support.

The specific factors of your marriage and divorce help shape the judge’s decision for spousal support. Since there are no calculations that courts make, the judge will base the decision on how you and your spouse have built your life together.