Award of alimony or child support that exceeds the itemized expenses is not, per se, an abuse of discretion. Award must be considered in light of accustomed standard of living and ability to pay. Alimony and support is based on the needs of the wife and children and the ability of the husband to pay.
(1) Court abused its discretion when it limited the period of maintenance without adequate findings of fact. (2) A party’s lack of initiative or effort to become self-supporting is a relevant factor for the court to consider, but it is not determinative.
Evidence of marital misconduct not admissible for determining maintenance.
Maintenance not limited to just cases of need. It is to be a flexible tool to ensure a fair and equitable determination in each individual case.
Award of maintenance is a discretionary determination which, to be sustained, must be based on facts in the record and the appropriate and applicable law.
Debts incurred after commencement may affect ability to pay maintenance.
Maintenance is not based solely on need – it is not limited to those situations where a spouse cannot support his or her self.
(1) Court need not consider all statutory factors in making a maintenance determination. (2) Insufficient record in this case to support more maintenance – testimony of physical ailments were not linked to a limitation on her ability to work. Also, the testimony on plans for future schooling was speculative.
Refusal by an alcoholic spouse of medically recommended treatment is a relevant factor in the court’s maintenance decision.
Premarital contributions as unmarried cohabitator is not a relevant factor on wife’s maintenance claim. Overruled in Meyer, 2000 WI 382, 239 Wis. 2d 73.