Child Support And Spousal Support

Child Support And Spousal Support

Let Us Advocate For Your Financial Interests

Financial obligations do not end when the marriage does. If a couple has children together or there is a significant income disparity between spouses, the court may order child support or spousal support.

At Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, PLLP, we understand that issues of financial support can be difficult and emotionally charged. We try to ease the stress by helping you understand the process and ensuring that the court has an accurate picture of your financial needs and abilities.

Child Support Basics

In both Minnesota and Wisconsin, child support is a balance between the financial needs of the child/children and each parent’s ability to meet those needs. Each state uses its own formula to calculate support, based on a number of factors like parental income (or income potential), the number of children to be supported and the number of overnights that each parent has with the child/children (which is indicative of physical custody or placement).

There are online calculators you can use to estimate your own child support obligations (or how much you can expect to receive). Our attorneys will be happy to go through this information with you.

Child Support And Child Custody Must Be Viewed Independently

When one parent has primary or sole custody/placement of the children, it is common for the other parent to pay child support. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and child custody decisions do not automatically determine child support awards. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Child support is based on many factors, including each parent’s income. Therefore, even if custody is shared in roughly equal measure, one parent may still end up paying child support
  • A parent should never push for custody simply to avoid paying child support
  • Child support cannot be withheld because the receiving parent is not abiding by the custody order
  • Either parent can seek to modify a child support order if there has been a significant change in financial circumstances or needs of the child or children

An Overview Of Spousal Maintenance

It used to be called alimony, then spousal support. In both Minnesota and Wisconsin, it is now officially referred to as spousal maintenance. Although there are slight differences, spousal maintenance is substantially similar in both states.

Here are the basics:

  • It is not automatically ordered. Either spouse can request it.
  • There is no set formula for determining the amount of support payments or duration. It is determined by agreement between divorcing spouses or the court on an individual basis.
  • Factors to consider include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, whether one spouse left the workforce to care for children and each spouse’s physical health.
  • Spousal maintenance may be requested/ordered while the divorce is still pending (known as temporary maintenance) or after the divorce has been finalized (short-term or long-term maintenance).

Whether you are seeking to receive maintenance or being asked to pay, we will ensure that the court has all information relevant to your financial status and needs. We will then strongly advocate your position as to whether or not spousal support is appropriate, and, if so, how much should be paid.

We Are Here To Listen – Contact Us For A Consultation

Based in St. Paul, CBSH serves clients throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We are pleased to offer free initial consultations in numerous practice areas, including family law. To discuss your child custody matter with one of our skilled attorneys, call us at 651-968-0969 or fill out our online contact form.