What is my wife entitled to if she didn’t work but could have?

UPDATED: Mar 14, 2012

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What is my wife entitled to if she didn’t work but could have?

My wife and I were married for almost 3 years (now a total of 7 years) when we decided she would stop working an stay home to raise our daughter until she was able to go back to work. For 2 years now she could have gotten a part time job but refused “because I made enough already” Now she wants a divorce for questionable reasons and expects me to leave the house and go somewhere else but still pay all the bills and mortgage, etc..I work in sales so I’ve had good years and bad years. Does my base pay only count? What can I expect if we go through with divorce? She could have worked but chose not to. Also, she is verbally and mentally abusive to me. 

Asked on March 14, 2012 under Family Law, Wisconsin


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You write from the state of Wisconsin, correct?  Wisconsin is a community property state meaning that all marital assets are split 50/50.   What I think that you really want to know is if you are going to have to pay spousal support.  I think you already know that you have to pay child support.  Here are the "rules" in your state:

Either spouse may be ordered to pay maintenance to the other spouse, without regard to marital misconduct. The factors for consideration are as follows:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  • The property division.
  • The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.
  • The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to find appropriate employment.
  • The feasibility that the party seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage, and, if so, the length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
  • The tax consequences to each party.
  • Any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage, according to the terms of which one party has made financial or service contributions to the other with the expectation of reciprocation or other compensation in the future, if the repayment has not been made, or any mutual agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning any arrangement for the financial support of the parties.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other; (10)
  • Any other relevant factors the court deems relevant.

Get help.  Good luck.

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