Wisconsin residents who are required to pay alimony or child support should not try to manipulate their income to get their payments lowered. Courts generally look closely at all sources of compensation as well as lifestyle. However, the payor may want to take certain favorable measures. For example, if the person expects a large one-time bonus in the year ahead, it may be a good idea to complete the divorce beforehand.
Another option is to offer the spouse a larger share of assets in lieu of more support. This could be a solution for a payor who is concerned about cash flow. Divorcing spouses may also decide whether they want to make the support modifiable. This would mean that the support amount could be altered if there is a significant change in income. However, one potential drawback is that it requires the payor to continue sharing financial information with an ex-spouse.
In addition to regular income and bonuses, judges who calculate support may consider investment dividends, employment perks, corporate retirement account contributions and even regular gifts of money. Courts will also look at lifestyle relative to income. If the family appears to live above its means, a judge will generally investigate where the additional support is coming from.
Not all divorces will involve spousal support, which is separate from child support. Spousal support may only last for a few years, but child support generally lasts for as long as a child is a minor. It may go on beyond that if the child has special needs. A family law attorney could help a soon-to-be ex negotiate a fair arrangement that covers both spousal and child support.