The dream of marrying and having children with the love of your life is enticing to many people. When you settle down with your ideal match, there is little to no thought focused on the possibility that the relationship won’t work out. Regardless of the reason, however, a marriage may not last. When the choice has been made to end the union, feelings of failure and loss may take over.
Understanding the appropriate legal steps in divorce can help make the transition smoother. Enlisting the help of an experienced divorce attorney is a wise choice for spouses looking to protect their interests.
A divorce is a challenging time for everyone in the family, and shielding children during the process is the primary goal for many parents. One way to achieve this is by addressing all child-related aspects in an effective parenting plan. When the court has two parents who agree on all matters concerning the children, a presiding judge is more likely to agree with the spouses and make the arrangement official.
The best course of action is when parents decide and agree on a custody plan. If that isn’t the case, a Milwaukee judge will make the ruling. In the Wisconsin court system, joint custody is preferred because both parents share parenting time. When only one parent is given custody privileges, this might be due to another caregiver providing an unhealthy home environment. In instances affecting the welfare of the children, the court may deny visitation or only allow supervised time with kids.
When parents are having a hard time agreeing on the issues within a parenting plan, a family judge might require spouses to work with a court-appointed mediator to resolve matters.
It’s possible to get an idea what a parent’s financial contribution will be each month for child support by using a mathematical formula. However, the equation used will depend on the income level of each spouse and whether or not joint custody has been awarded. There are many variables involved in the formula to calculate child support, including the number of dependents and all child-focused expenses.
The court uses the gross income of each parent to calculate child support. This amount includes wages, commissions and stipends, among other types of revenue.
When spouses divorce in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as in the rest of the state, property is divided into two categories: community and separate. Under Wisconsin’s community property laws, debts and assets acquired during the marriage are divided evenly between each party in dissolution of marriage.
Division Of Property
Identifying whether property is community or separate isn’t always an easy process. Separate property may include an item that was given as a gift to one person in the marriage, but not to the couple as a whole. This would not include gifts given to one spouse by the other person because this property would be generally considered community. Other types of separate property include:
- An inheritance (although if the property generates revenue, this money could belong to both parties)
- Property bought before the marriage
- Property purchased after the separation date
The services of a lawyer can be beneficial when working through the issue of dispersing property and may help to avoid potential pitfalls. For example, if a person agrees to pay for something considered community debt, such as a credit card balance, but files for bankruptcy or stops paying, the other spouse could still be held accountable for the money owed.
Ending a marriage is a highly personal event and as such, it’s important to choose the course that works for you and your family. Alternatives to divorce include a legal separation or an annulment.
A legal separation may be a way to decide if a divorce is what you really want to pursue. It could also be for those who still love one another, but are having problems and want to work on the marriage. There are also many potential financial advantages to legally separating rather than divorcing, such as retaining certain military benefits your spouse carries, remaining on an insurance plan and reaping the benefits of a joint tax return.
In an annulment, the marriage is declared legally invalid. In Wisconsin, only a limited number of grounds will serve as conditions to annul a marriage. One of the following conditions must exist:
- A spouse was forced into marriage.
- A spouse committed fraud.
- A spouse was unable to have sexual intercourse.
- A spouse was already legally married.
- Spouses are closely related.
- A spouse is lacking in the capacity to consent to the marriage.
Certain time limits apply on many of the conditions to annul a marriage. Speaking to an attorney is recommended when pursuing an annulment. A legal professional can explain the evidence that is needed to get the marriage annulled and inform you of all the time restraints that pertain to your situation.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has many variations, but all forms serve to help couples avoid a costly trial. Spouses will meet with a neutral third party and work through contested issues to reach settlements. The benefits to this approach include saving time, preserving relationships and having more control over the process and the outcome. While ADR is an effective means of resolving issues, it is not recommended for couples:
- Unwilling to compromise, effectively communicate or cooperate
- With a history of physical or emotional abuse
- With the dynamic of one spouse being in financial power over the other person
There are many decisions to make when going through a divorce. Having legal information you can trust will increase your chances of achieving your goals and preparing for the future. Because a divorce is a tumultuous event, it may be difficult to focus on all of the decisions that need to be made. An attorney can inform you on all of the aspects that are relevant in your case, such as Wisconsin property laws and child support guidelines.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
It may be tempting to reach out to the family attorney because he or she has helped with a variety of other issues in the past. However, divorce is a highly specialized type of law, and it’s wise to select an attorney that is focused on divorce. When hiring a divorce lawyer it’s also important to look for one with experience helping Milwaukee families in situations similar to yours. The legal professional you choose can make a difference.
To learn more about divorce in Milwaukee and arrange for an initial consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer fill out the free case review form today.