Local divorce representation you deserve
Wauwatosa is a beautiful city that is perfect for families. Unfortunately, disputes still arise and sometimes, marriages end. Divorce is not only difficult for the two people going through it. It affects every member of the family and afterwards, no one’s life may look the same as it once did. If you are considering divorce, or have already started the process, you are likely experiencing many emotions. Our Wauwatosa divorce attorneys can help you make sense of the legalities of your case and help you obtain the fair settlement you deserve.
Grounds for Divorce in Wauwatosa
In Wauwatosa, as throughout the rest of Wisconsin, all divorces are filed on no-fault grounds. This means that neither party has to accuse their spouse of any wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of the marriage. The spouse that files for divorce must only state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Proving an irreparable marital breakdown only requires one spouse to testify under oath that this is the case.
Does Infidelity Affect Divorce?
Wisconsin is one of many states that still technically views infidelity as a criminal offense. In fact, in America’s Dairyland, adultery is considered a Class I felony. Fortunately, law enforcement in Wauwatosa and throughout the rest of the state rarely enforces this law. Still, adultery can impact a divorce case. This is particularly true if the affair affected child care during the marriage, or the marital finances.
Child Custody in Wauwatosa
There are two types of child custody recognized in Wauwatosa. These are legal custody and physical placement. In most family law cases, the family courts in Wisconsin strive to divide both types of custody equally among both parents.
In extreme cases, this is not possible and so, a judge may award sole legal custody or physical placement. In these cases, one of the parents is typically deemed unfit. A parent is considered unfit when they have a history of abuse or neglect. Abuse and neglect can include many things such as a substance abuse problem, child abandonment, or a criminal history.
Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions for the child. These may include when a child can obtain their driver’s license, or what school they will attend. Physical placement refers to where the child will spend their time, and which parent they will spend their time with.
Although the courts will try to award shared physical placement in most cases, the best interests of the child are always given priority. These factors must be analyzed when creating a parenting schedule. The court may also order the parents to attend mediation to resolve the issue. If mediation is unsuccessful, a guardian ad litem will be assigned by the courts. A guardian ad litem is a family attorney who will examine the best interests of the child and make their own recommendations to the court.
Calculating Child Support in Wauwatosa
The amount of time a child spends with each parent will determine which party pays child support post-divorce, as well as the amount. When parents share physical placement, a judge will consider the amount of overnight visits the child has with each parent. When one parent has sole physical placement, the formula used to determine the amount of child support is as follows:
- 17 percent of gross income for one child
- 25 percent of gross income for two children
- 29 percent of gross income for three children
- 31 percent of gross income for four children
- 34 percent of gross income for five children
Calculating Alimony in Wauwatosa
The family courts will consider many factors when determining alimony. These include:
- The education level of both parties
- The earning capacity of each party
- Contributions one party made to the education or career of the otherFor example, if you stayed home to raise the children and maintain the household, and you supported your spouse as they furthered themselves in the workforce, you could be entitled to more alimony.
The Divorce Process in Wauwatosa
No two divorce cases are exactly alike and challenges that are not present in one case may need resolving in another. Generally speaking though, the majority of divorce cases in Wauwatosa follow the below steps:
- Determine whether just one of you will file or if you will both jointly sign the divorce petition.
- If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse about certain issues, such as the use of the family residence or child custody, you may need to attend a temporary hearing.
- File the petition for divorce and summons.
- Serve copies of the petition, the summons, and the proposed parenting plan to your spouse.
- Obtain a date for your hearing.
- Complete the proposed marital settlement or the marriage settlement agreement necessary for the final hearing.
- Attend your hearing.
- Sign and file any remaining documents.
You are never required to work with a Wauwatosa divorce attorney when going through a divorce. You can go “Pro Se,” which means you can represent yourself. However, doing so comes with substantial risk. Divorce cases are usually too complicated for one person to handle themselves. The judge and others in the courtroom also cannot give you legal advice. They can only make decisions based on the facts and arguments you have presented.
Without legal knowledge, many people who represent themselves end up with an unfair settlement. Sometimes, they have to contact a lawyer anyway, and it ends up costing them more because critical errors must be fixed.
When you partner with a divorce attorney at Karp & Iancu, you get: