Menasha Divorce Lawyer

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Getting divorced does not mean you “failed” at marriage. It does not mean you were a bad spouse, that you did not try hard enough to stay married, or that monogamy is unrealistic. What it means is that you and your spouse recognized that for whatever reason, your marriage was not a healthy one so you chose to end it and individually move toward healthier chapters in your lives.

Once you determine that divorce is the right course of action for you, discuss your case with an experienced divorce lawyer to go over all of your options and develop realistic expectations for the divorce process. Your Menasha divorce lawyer might determine that you and your spouse are good candidates for a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation.

Wisconsin Divorce Details

Every state has slightly different rules and requirements for divorce. If you live in Wisconsin or plan to complete your divorce in Wisconsin, it is important that you know and understand the following:

  • Wisconsin is a “no fault” state for divorce. The only grounds you may cite for your Wisconsin divorce is irreconcilable differences;
  • To file for divorce in Wisconsin, an individual or his or her spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months;
  • In Wisconsin, divorces are handled by the circuit courts. These courts operate at the county level. An individual can file for divorce with the circuit court for his or her county or the county where his or her spouse lives; and
  • Wisconsin is a community property state. This means that with a few exceptions, all property obtained by either party during the marriage belongs to both spouses.

What to Expect from the Divorce Process

No two divorces are exactly the same. If you have few assets and no children, the divorce process can be fairly simple. If you have been married a long time and have numerous assets and minor children, your divorce will be more complex. Your divorce’s complexity is also partially determined by your willingness as a couple to work together to reach a settlement. When there is a significant amount of conflict regarding your settlement, reaching one that suits both parties can be a drawn-out, difficult process.

A property division order will be part of your divorce settlement. This is the document that outlines how your marital assets are divided. Because Wisconsin is a community property state, marital assets are typically divided about evenly between the partners. However, the court has the discretion to distribute assets as it sees fit and may divide them equitably, rather than evenly, when it deems it necessary.

Marital debts are divided alongside a couple’s marital assets. These include business debts, credit card debt, and any other debt that belongs to both partners.

If you have minor children, your divorce settlement will include a child custody order and a child support order. Child support is calculated according to Wisconsin’s child support guidelines. Your child custody order is determined by examining a variety of factors about your child’s needs and your family dynamics. The court considers your child’s emotional, psychological, academic, physical, and medical needs when determining an appropriate custody order. Child custody has two components: physical custody, the responsibility of providing a home for your child, and legal custody, the right to make important decisions on your child’s behalf. The court may grant joint or sole custody in either or both categories in your child custody order.

If you or your spouse opted out of the workforce or chose to work part-time to care for your home and children, a spousal maintenance order may also be part of your divorce settlement. This is money that one partner pays to the other, usually temporarily, to protect him or her from facing financial hardship after their divorce is finalized. To determine an appropriate spousal maintenance order, the court considers a variety of factors about your marriage and individual needs.

Working with a Divorce Lawyer

Your lawyer is your advocate. When you are getting divorced, you need an advocate. Your lawyer’s job is to ensure that your rights are respected and that your interests are promoted. If you suspect your spouse is hiding marital assets in an effort to keep them from being divided fairly between you, your lawyer can investigate the case to determine whether this is really the case. If you face false accusations about your actions, your parenting ability, or your use of marital assets, your lawyer help you can set the record straight by providing relevant documents.

Your lawyer can also help to ensure that your divorce settlement is appropriate for your family. Developing an appropriate divorce settlement often requires input from third party professionals, such as:

  • Financial advisors who can discuss the “big picture” of your marital assets and make recommendations based on the tax obligations that come with each of your assets as well as their projected future value;
  • A real estate appraiser. This individual’s job is to value your marital home, which is likely the biggest asset in your marital pool, so its value can be divided appropriately;
  • A child custody evaluator. A child custody evaluator examines your family’s lifestyle and your children’s needs to make recommendations for an appropriate child custody arrangement for them. This individual may work with a child psychologist to gain insight to your child’s needs; and
  • If you and/or your spouse own a small business, your lawyer may call upon a business appraiser to determine an appropriate value and division plan for the business.

Work with an Experienced Menasha, WI Divorce Lawyer

When you recognize that your marriage is unhealthy and you have no desire – or realistic way – to work through its challenges and become a functional couple again, it is time to start planning your divorce with an experienced divorce lawyer in Menasha, WI. To get started and learn more about your rights and legal options, contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.

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