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Greenville, WI Divorce Lawyer

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When your marriage is no longer a happy, healthy one, divorce can be the best option for you, your spouse, and your children. Getting divorced is a big, life-changing step and in many cases, it changes an individual’s life for the better because it gets him or her out of an unhealthy marriage.

If you are considering filing for divorce or if you have already done so, start working with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and your interests are promoted. Your family law attorney in Greenville, WI is your advocate, and the sooner you start your relationship with him or her, the more effectively he or she can serve you.

Wisconsin Divorce Basics

Although the divorce process is fairly similar across the United States, each state has specific guidelines and restrictions on divorces. In Wisconsin, these guidelines and restrictions include:

  • Every divorce is a no-fault divorce. This means that regardless of the reason why a marriage ended, the official reason is the couple’s “irreconcilable differences;”
  • In Wisconsin, a divorcing couple’s marital assets are divided according to the doctrine of community property, rather than the doctrine of equitable distribution;
  • All divorces are handled at the county level. An individual who wishes to file for divorce can file his or her divorce documents with the circuit court of the county where he or she resides or the county where his or her spouse resides, if they live in different counties;
  • To file for divorce in Wisconsin, an individual or his or her spouse must have lived in Wisconsin for at least six months; and
  • Once divorce paperwork is filed, a 120-day waiting period goes into effect. The divorce cannot be finalized before this period ends.

For further information on any one of these points, speak with your divorce lawyer.

Components of a Divorce Settlement

Every divorce involves the division of the couple’s marital property. Whether the couple has a large marital estate and a high net worth or just a few hundred dollars in savings, their marital property must be distributed between them. When a couple has a prenuptial agreement outlining how this property is to be divided, this process is straightforward. When there are conflicts surrounding the couple’s property division, it can be a drawn-out process.

If the couple has minor children, their divorce settlement must also include a child support order and a child custody order. Child support is the money one parent pays to the other to help offset the costs of raising their children, and it is determined using a specific formula. Child custody determinations are made at the court’s discretion based on what it determines to be in the children’s best interest. To make this determination, the court considers a variety of factors like:

  • The children’s relationships with each parent;
  • The children’s medical, academic, and personal needs;
  • The desirability of maintaining the children’s current home location and routine;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide for the children financially, emotionally, and physically;
  • Each parent’s day-to-day involvement in the children’s lives; and
  • Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s home.

A child custody order is comprised of two kinds of custody: physical custody, the responsibility to provide the children with a place to live, and legal custody, the responsibility to make decisions on the children’s behalves. The parents may have joint or sole custody in either or both areas, which the court determines using the factors outlined above and others included in Wisconsin law.

In some cases, spousal maintenance is also part of a divorce order. This is financial support paid from one partner to the other, either in installments or in a lump sum, to provide him or her with a safety net that will help him or her avoid financial hardship after the divorce. In the past, many spousal maintenance recipients received this support until they remarried. Those who did not remarry received this support for the rest of their lives. Today, it is more common for a spousal maintenance order to last for a limited duration while the recipient prepares to enter the workforce. However, permanent maintenance is awarded in some cases.

Working through your Divorce

As mentioned above, your divorce lawyer is your advocate. His or her job is to protect your rights and help you promote your interests as you work through the divorce process. This may involve:

  • Gathering evidence to support your positions during hearings related to your child custody order and to fight allegations of misconduct;
  • Drawing upon his or her professional network to connect with professionals who can help the court make accurate determinations, like a real estate appraiser or a child custody evaluator;
  • Help you gather all your financial documents to enable the court to accurately value your marital assets;
  • Verbally walk you through the divorce process so you understand each step and the one that follows it;
  • Advise you about your options at each stage of the process, such as choosing mediation or litigating your divorce; and
  • Supporting and representing you as you work through the legal challenges that can follow a divorce, like co-parenting according to your child custody order or making sure you get the spousal maintenance you are owed.

There are a variety of factors that play a role in determining how complex your divorce will be, like whether you have children and the size of your marital estate. Your lawyer can explain these factors to you in detail.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Greenville, WI

Sometimes, you simply know your marriage is over. If you are in this position, start working with an experienced divorce lawyer now to legally exit your marriage. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office, during which we will go over your rights, your legal options, and what you can expect from the divorce process.

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