Local divorce representation you deserve
While the divorce rate has been gradually decreasing across the country and in Wisconsin, data indicates that there are still many couples opting to dissolve the marital relationship. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the divorce rate per 1,000 total population is 2.3 at the national level and 2.0 in Wisconsin. However, a look at the statistics does not reveal the emotional turmoil and complexities that often accompany divorce cases. Even when spouses get along, there can be disputes that stand in the way of an amicable resolution. When the parties are at extreme odds on divorce issues, the proceedings can be overwhelming and exhausting.
You have important financial and parental rights in a Wisconsin divorce case, so it is critical to get skilled legal help with protecting them. Our family law team at Karp & Iancu, S.C. has decades of combined experience fighting for parties obtain a fair outcome, so you can count on us to provide compassionate, knowledgeable legal services. Please contact our firm today to set up a free consultation. One of our Fox Point divorce attorneys can offer specific advice, but you might find it useful to review some basics of Wisconsin law.
Key Issues in Divorce: While every case is different, there are three main areas that spouses will address through divorce proceedings.
- Division of Property: Wisconsin is one of just a few US states that follows the law of community property in divorce. The analysis starts by assessing what assets were acquired by the couple during the marriage, which would be considered community property. Items owned by each party before the wedding date are separate and belong to the individual. All community property must be divided equally in the divorce process.
- Alimony: When divorce will result in a significant financial discrepancy between the parties, the lower earning spouse can request spousal support. If appropriate, a judge will consider several statutory factors to determine the type, amount, and duration.
- Care for Minor Children: The rights and responsibilities of parents do not terminate with divorce, so child custody, visitation, and support will be a focal point in a divorce case. The laws prefer an arrangement where parents share in raising the child, so joint custody is common. When making decisions on custody and support, the court must consider the child’s best interests.
Types of Divorce
Because every divorce case is different, your approach to the process should align with your goals, needs, and many other personal factors. Our firm is ready to serve you with different types of divorce, such as:
- Uncontested: These are cases where the parties agree on key divorce issues and include all essential terms in a written, legally binding agreement. The document becomes part of the court order when the final decree is entered.
- Mediation: This process aims to settle divorce disputes through guidance from a mediator who is specially trained to facilitate productive conversation between the parties. You can agree to medication, but it will likely be ordered by the court. The outcome is not binding, and you can still take disputes to court.
- Collaborative Divorce: Through this process, the parties address issues out of court, with advice from legal counsel. The proceeding takes place over multiple sessions of settlement conferences and negotiations. Lawyers must be certified to handle collaborative divorce, and the parties must release their attorneys if the discussions break down and it becomes necessary to go to court.
- Contested Hearings: This type of divorce is essentially a trial over all remaining disputes. The proceeding encompasses the familiar aspects of litigation that you probably recognize, such as the presentation of evidence, witness testimony, and legal arguments.
Timeline of a Wisconsin Divorce Case
The process starts when one spouse files a petition for divorce, which states the essential facts supporting an end to the marriage and requests the court to enter an order dissolving it. Wisconsin is a no-fault state for purposes of divorce, so you do not need to provide specific grounds. A statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken is sufficient. Note that there is minimal benefit to filing first. The state divorce laws described above govern property division, alimony, and child custody, visitation, and support – not who wins the race to the courthouse.
After filing the petition and serving necessary documents upon the other spouse, a divorce case generally proceeds as follows:
- Exchanging financial disclosures;
- Discussing potential settlement on property, alimony, and issues related to minor children;
- Mediation to address outstanding disputes; and
- A contested hearing on issues not already resolved by the parties.
Legal Help with Divorce Proceedings
Our Fox Point divorce lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. are committed to guiding clients through all stages of the divorce process, so we can advise you even as you are considering options and preparing for the case. You can also count on our firm to:
- Draft the divorce petition or your response to paperwork served upon you;
- Help gather information for financial disclosures;
- Consult with you on collaborative divorce where appropriate;
- Engage in negotiations to settle property division, spousal maintenance, and care for children by agreement;
- Advocate on your behalf during mediation; and,
- Appear at all court hearings related to the divorce case.
If your divorce case will go to a contested hearing, our lawyers have extensive trial advocacy skills to ensure the best possible outcome. We will develop opening and closing arguments, introduce important evidence to support your position, present and cross-examine witnesses, and handle all other litigation tasks.
When you partner with a divorce attorney at Karp & Iancu, you get: