Lets start with some basic information
a divorce can either be contested or not contested.
Uncontested; Now the fastest, (and by far the least expensive) way to get a divorce is if you can agree on the terms. If you can agree on "who gets what" there is not a need for attorneys...this will cut the costs to a very small amount (court fees)
Contested; if you can not agree, this is a contested divorce. To proceed you need an attorney or need to act as your own attorney (very bad idea). Here the parties present evidence to the court on "who gets what" and the court decides. This take longer and involves attorney fees for both sides.
SO, if you can agree with your "soon to be ex" on who gets what, great! If not, you need an attorney.
And let me say that in ALMOST ALL divorce cases, the parties agree at some point...but sometime its only after they have paid the lawyers a LOT of money to tell them its in their best interest to settle. You seem to be on the right track, agreeing up front to settle. Good for you.
Now, lest talk support.
There are two types of support that the court can award.Child support
and spousal support
Lets start with child support.
Child support is easy, its based on the relative time with the child and relative income of the parents. If you agree on 50/50 custody, the court will likely agree...the court wants both parents in the child's life. But if one parent makes more money than the other, that parent will pay some support.
How much? You can get a good idea here
Now, spousal support (alimony
/maintenance). That is MUCH more difficult. I suspect the lawyer you spoke with was vague on purpose. While you can sometimes get a decent prediction, its only after a careful review of the entire case. There is no way to give an accurate "guess" based on a quick overview. This is not like child support, where its "cut and dry".
No, in WI, like most states, there are many factors that apply, and, if the parties do not agreee, they both must present evidence to the court and the court will, based on the evidence, determine if support is appropriate and if so, how much
Lets start with the factors. You can see them here in section 767.26
(1) The length of the marriage.
(2) The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
(3) The division of property made under the divorce decree
(4) The educational level of each party at the time of marriage and at the time the action is commenced.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) The tax consequences to each party.
(8) 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, where such 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.
(9) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
(10) Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.
So as you see, there are many factors...and from what you describe, it seems some of the factors will help your claim for support, while some others, not so much.
But one thing you do have going is your not employed...and he is. So even if the court will not not award you long term maintenance, it may be you can get temporary support, say for a year or so, to get you "on your feet". This is actually common. And if your agreeing with him on the other aspects of this divorce, if you can agree on this as well, temporary support, then your way ahead of the game.
If you can not agree?
That puts you in the position to have to hire a lawyer and show the court that based on the above factors, you rate support.
Let me know if you have more questions