Handling these issues on your own can mean delays, higher costs, and more stress. Plus, you’ll need to spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with state laws. Who has time for that in the midst of a divorce?
Contact the Kenosha family law attorneys from Karp & Iancu, S.C. for help with your divorce case. We’ll work hard to get you the best outcome possible.
The topic of family law is broad and encompasses many elements, with divorce being the most common one. Ending a marriage is no easy task and even when both spouses agree to the divorce, it is still a process filled with emotional ups and downs.
Divorce can be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree to the divorce and all the elements involved, such as property division and alimony. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is when the parties disagree on one or more elements, such as child custody or property division.
Divorce can be handled in several ways. For simple cases, some couples prefer the DIY approach. While you can get the forms online, it’s always good to have a little legal help on your side. Mediation is a good option when your divorce is a little more complex but you and your spouse can work amicably to get the issues resolved without going to court. In complex cases where you and your spouse cannot agree on anything, you may need to engage in litigation and battle it out in front of a judge.
Wisconsin is a community property state, which means each party has a 50/50 interest in all marital property. A person’s income or other contributions to the marriage do not matter when it comes to property division. All marital property—all property acquired during the marriage—is split evenly. Property includes real estate, personal property, all income received by either spouse during the marriage (including stocks, interest income, and retirement accounts), and all debts incurred during the marriage. Inheritances, gifts, and property owned before marriage are generally excluded.
However, you may not find this fair, especially if your spouse took on debts that you were unaware of. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer if you are concerned about fairness in property division.
In Wisconsin, child support is calculated using the parents’ gross income. Child support is given from one parent to the other (from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent) to pay for a child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
To receive child support, you or the other parent will need to initiate or respond to a request. To come up with the proper amount of child support, both parents will need to provide information about their income, such as W-2s, 1099s, paystubs, and tax returns.
Once the parents enter a support order, the court will issue a “wage assignment” and automatically deduct the child support from the paying parent’s paycheck. This will continue until the parent experiences a change in income, in which a modification can be made by the courts.
Many parents fight over child custody. It’s a contentious topic that often has parents using their children as pawns in a divorce. It’s a sad situation that makes children more stressed out and anxious.
In Wisconsin, custody refers to decision-making authority. It is the legal custody to make major decisions about your child, such as those pertaining to education, healthcare, and religion. There can be sole or joint custody. Joint custody is when both parents share in the responsibility of caring for their children. This is typically the best option for the child. Sole custody is when just one parent has decision-making authority. This is rare, though, and done only in extreme circumstances, such as abuse or neglect.
Instead of the term “physical custody,” Wisconsin courts use the term “placement.” Placement simply means where a child sleeps at night. Primary placement is when a child spends at least 75% of overnight visits with the same parent. If the child is with each parent more than 25% of the time, then it is considered shared placement.
Some spouses may get alimony after a divorce, especially if there is a huge discrepancy in income. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is to help a spouse get back on their feet financially so that they can eventually become self-sufficient. It is often awarded to a stay-at-home parent who has little job history and needs to return to school to gain skills.
There are three types of alimony in Wisconsin:
- Lifestyle. This is the most common type of alimony. This type of spousal support is paid so that the spouses can continue to enjoy the same lifestyle that they enjoyed during the marriage. This is often ordered in long-term marriages. It can be awarded for a fixed term or even indefinitely.
- Rehabilitative. This type of alimony is to help someone back on their feet. This support helps a person get back into the workforce with training and education. This is a short-term support order.
- Compensatory. This is to compensate a spouse who sacrificed their career for their spouse. They may have paid for a spouse’s education or training and now they want reimbursement. This type of alimony is uncommon.