Skip to main content

How much and how long could I expect in alimony if I divorced in Wisconsin?

Janesville, WI |

I have been married for 26 years . I left my career path to support my husbands career and to raise our 3 children . I have raised the kids mainly by myself as he traveled a lot and was busy with his own interests . I have been solely responsible for all upkeep inside the home on a daily basis including cleaning , laundry , cooking some repairs as well as much of the outside maintenance if it was not hired out . VERY occasionally my husband has done any manual work at home . I have also worked part time jobs throughout the years as well as been very active in the children school and even home schooled for several years . I now have chronic Lyme disease and am not able to work outside the home .

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


The presumption, or starting point, in awarding maintenance in Wisconsin is to equalize incomes. The courts generally believe that after 26 years, you are entitled to the same income as your spouse and the same lifestyle you enjoyed during the marriage. Your in-home contributions are valid and count the same as if you had been working full-time, especially if it assisted him and contributed to his earning capacity. Both parties are expected to work after the divorce but if you have a medical excuse, the court would take that into consideration. You should probably apply for social security/disability if you truly can't work.

After 26 years, maintenance would be indefinite which really means until he retires or until you remarry.

You should hire an experienced divorce attorney to assist you. Maintenance cases can be difficult and you need help for the best possible result.


In Wisconsin alimony is referred to as maintenance. There is no specific formula and each judge develops his or her own preferences and would look at both parties education, earning capacity and current employment/income. Another factor to consider is what the total family income is and has been. In a marriage longer than 20 years, many judges would award maintenance but not for an indefinite length of time.


Maintenance is a payment from one spouse to the other, after a divorce, intended to equalize the income. In deciding whether to award maintenance, the court takes into account numerous factors, include: length of marriage, comparative income of the parties, health, educational/employment opportunities lost due to family care, and the ability to pay. Thus, you certainly seem to be a candidate for maintenance; however, with the information you've given, there is no way that a lawyer can hazard a guess as to what the payment might be nor the term of the payments.

This answer is for informational purposes only. By answering this question, no attorney/client relationship is created. Although the legal information is accurate, it may not be appropriate for your situation. The best way to handle any legal problem is to seek the advice of an attorney.

Nicholas C. Zales

Nicholas C. Zales


Maintenance is discretionary. It is up to the judge how much you might receive and in what amount. In my experience, I think you could get 10 1- 5 years worth of maintenance and the amount would depend on your spouse's income and the lifestyle you enjoyed during your marriage. Maintenance is something one usually has to fight for but that is what court hearing are for.


First and foremost, seek assistance of an experienced family law attorney before you make a decision in this matter. I have handled numerous divorces in long term marriages. I have appeared as co-counsel in Rock County, and I get to the Janesville area a few times a year on state bar business. I would be happy to provide you a no-obligation, confidential, free 20-minute consultation if you wish to discuss your situation. Good luck.

Get Avvo’s 10-part divorce email series

A weekly guide with tips and legal advice for each stage of the process.

Divorce topics

Recommended articles about Divorce

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer