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Haugan v. Haugan

Supreme Court of Wisconsin
343 N.W.2d 796 (1984)


Patricia Haugan (plaintiff) and Gordon Haugan (defendant) were married for almost seven years. During the marriage, Patricia worked as a teacher so that Gordon could pursue a medical degree. Patricia had dreams of becoming a homemaker, wife, and mother, but she placed those dreams on hold for Gordon. In 1980, Gordon was wrapping up his medical residency. Patricia resigned from her teaching job so that she could join Gordon in Wisconsin, which is where Gordon planned to practice medicine. Immediately before Gordon completed his residency, he and Patricia separated. After the separation, Gordon began working as a pediatrician and making an annual salary of $48,000 plus bonuses. Gordon voluntarily paid Patricia $10,150 for one year following their separation, because she was unemployed. Patricia then began a job at IBM making $19,680 per year, which was significantly less than what she had made as a teacher. Following the trial, the circuit court valued the couple’s assets and liabilities; divided the marital property and debts; and denied Patricia’s request for maintenance payments, because Patricia would not be in need following the divorce. Patricia appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. Patricia appealed again.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Abrahamson, J.)

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