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Helpful Articles: Property, Debt, & Finances

Helpful information about finances and how it relates to divorce.

August 30th, 2017

Buying a new car in the middle of a divorce

Sometimes in the middle of a divorce, your car breaks down and you realize that it is time to replace that old junker and get a new car. Can you do that in the middle of a divorce? If so, is it marital property? Can you take a loan out on the car? What happens…
May 5th, 2017

Collecting Retroactive Child Support in Wisconsin

When can you collect back child support owed? From the birth of the children? From the time you separate? From the time you file a motion with the court? From the time the other party is served with the motion for court? From the time you are in court and the court orders support? Under…
April 24th, 2017

Child support errors- Pro se Litigants

I have done a number of recent blogs about mistakes pro se litigants make. No, I am not picking on people who represent themselves when getting a divorce. Instead, the purpose of this series of blogs on the topic, is to avoid other people going through a divorce making similar mistakes. As many as 50%…
April 17th, 2017

How to file an extension on your taxes

We are closing in the April 18 tax deadline for filing of income tax returns. What can you do if you aren't prepared to file your income taxes? Every taxpayer has the right to request an extension, and you don't really need to give a reason. The IRS will give you one, no questions asked.…
April 5th, 2017

Waiver of Maintenance in Wisconsin

You are going through a divorce, and the proposed marital settlement agreement calls for a waiver or termination of maintenance payments at the time of the granting of the final divorce. You are not sure what that means, and whether you should waive or not. First off, what is maintenance? Maintenance is the right to…
March 10th, 2017

Who keeps the tax refund?

This is the time of year that we field a lot of questions from clients, and people seeking general information on how to file their income tax returns and who gets to keep the tax refund. People going through a divorce start to think that if they file separate, but married income taxes for the…
February 28th, 2017

Forgiveness of Child support Arrears

There have been a flurry of questions posed on some of the "ask lawyer" web sites like AVVO and LAWYERS.COM about whether a person can file a motion or request with the court to be relieved of their built up child support arrearages. The answer is no. The only person who can compromise or forgive…
February 27th, 2017

When does child support start when divorcing in Wisconsin?

You have filed for divorce and requested child support in your initial petition for divorce, but no one has exactly explained how you go about to receive child support? How do you go about to receive child support? How is the amount determined? When does it start? Does your spouse pay it to you or…
January 29th, 2017

IRS form 8332; child dependency exemption

A frequently asked question is which parent in a divorce can claim the tax dependency exemption for the minor child? Under Federal law, the custodial parent is automatically entitled to claim the child as a tax dependency exemption. However, the exemption can be waived either by the custodial parent agreeing to the waiver or by…
January 23rd, 2017

Pre-Marital Assets; exempt under Wisconsin law?

I have been getting a lot of questions and inquiries lately on how pre-marital assets are treated in a divorce case under Wisconsin law. Are the assets exempt from property division or are they divisible under Wisconsin law? All property in a divorce case in Wisconsin, whether acquired before the marriage or during the marriage…
January 18th, 2017

Maintenance; How long in Wisconsin?

One of the issues that creeps up when dealing with a maintenance issue (spousal support), is the question of how long should the term of maintenance be. Today's blog will address the various scenarios for the length or term of maintenance. 1. HOLD OPEN. I have discussed this issue in a blog from last year…
January 5th, 2017

Cohabitation can affect maintenance payments in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, when you are receiving maintenance payments (better commonly known as "alimony") and if you get remarried, your payments automatically stop under Wisconsin law. What happens, if you live with someone instead? Do your payments automatically stop? Under the law in this state, cohabitation is a factor that the court can consider in…
January 4th, 2017

Is Wisconsin a 50/50 state for divorce?

It is surprising that most people don't know the answer to this question. We are frequently asked the question and the answer is yes. Wisconsin, since 1977, has been a marital property law state when it comes to a family getting a divorce or legal separation in Wisconsin. This means that there is a legal…
November 28th, 2016

When does child support end in Wisconsin?

When you are under a support obligation for little children, it seems as though that obligation for support may never go away. At some point though, a parent no longer is obligated to pay support. When, under Wisconsin law does that duty end? The answer lies in sec. 767.511 (4) and reads as follows; "AGE…
August 18th, 2016

Family Support- What is it?

Family support is a hybrid of child support and maintenance combined together. It allows the person who  is paying to deduct the payments, assuming all the requirements of sec. IRC 71 and 215 are met, and requires the payee to report the payments as taxable income. Child support is non taxable-non deductible. Maintenance (spousal support…
June 15th, 2016

Failure to File a Financial Disclosure Statement in Wisconsin

You are involved in a divorce and your spouse has decided to go at it alone without a lawyer. While they have a right to do that, they also at the same time, must comply with the laws and procedures under the family code, chapter 767 of the Wisconsin Statutes. One of those requirements, is…
May 20th, 2016

Selling off property in the middle of a divorce

Someone asked me the other day if you need money, can you start selling off property in the middle of the divorce? The answer is generally no, as there is a statutory prohibition for doing so, once the divorce is filed. There are some exceptions and I will cover those as well. WI STAT. 767.117…
April 23rd, 2016

Can My Lawyer Drop My Case If I Don’t Pay?

A frequently asked question, and an all to frequent occurrence, is a client who is in the middle of a divorce, and has stopped paying attorney's fees. There are usually two reasons why a client stops payment to the attorney; 1. They simply don't have the money and can't afford to pay or 2. They…
April 11th, 2016

What Significance Is The New Spouse’s Income To Support Obligations?

A frequently asked question at some of the lawyer web sites, such as Avvo and, is can a new spouse's income be considered for purposes of child support or maintenance payments? The answer under Wisconsin law, is no. A new spouse is not obligated to pay support for children that are not theirs, nor…
April 6th, 2016

Can You Deduct Temporary Maintenance Payments?

It is tax season. I am frequently asked if a person who is obligated under a temporary court order may deduct those maintenance (spousal support) payments, from their taxes. While there is no specific I.R.S. rule that says you can't deduct them, one would need to comply with all of the conditions and terms under…
April 5th, 2016

Can You Buy A House In The Middle Of A Divorce?

Is there a prohibition on buying a house before the divorce is completed? We know there is a statutory prohibition on selling, disposing, or giving away any marital property in the middle of the divorce without the consent of the other party or by further order of the court, absent it being done in the…
March 16th, 2016

What is a Vocational Examination?

Many times in divorce cases, we recommend to our clients that they undergo a vocational examination, or the opposing counsel, requests that the party submit to an independent vocational examination. What is a vocational examination and what purpose does it serve? A vocational examination is a process where a person trained and experienced in employment…
February 24th, 2016

Divorce Maintenance (Alimony) in Wisconsin—Waiving vs Holding Open

When is it Right to Waive Maintenance? Short answer: Essentially it depends on your length of marriage, age, health, income disparity and the ability to support yourself long-term. At the very end of every divorce case (see all steps in the divorce process), there comes the time, typically during the negotiation of the final settlement…
February 22nd, 2016

Hold Open Child Support?

The other day on one of the "ask lawyer" internet web sites, someone posted a question of whether you could waive or hold open child support. The answer to the former is no and the answer to the latter is yes. You cannot waive child support pursuant to a martial settlement agreement, as it is…
December 8th, 2015

What Are “Variable Costs?”

I deal with a number of disputes over "variable costs." It seems that a number of litigants do not understand what variable expenses are, when they come into play and how each party is to be held responsible for such costs. If there is a traditional placement arrangement of children, where one parent has primary…
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