When a marriage is unhealthy, divorce is the solution. Yes, couples can and do recover from rough patches and work through the conflicts that drive them apart, but unless both parties are equally willing to work through the challenges they face and those challenges are not too much for them to overcome, divorce is the right choice. Even when a couple is willing to try to work through their differences, sometimes they are just too fundamentally different, or their marriage is too fundamentally broken, for the relationship to recover.
Divorce is not a personal failure. It is a tool for exiting a marriage that no longer serves the people living in it. Whether you have been married one year or 20 years, whether you are childfree or have a large family, divorce is always an option. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide the legal guidance you need to make divorce less daunting.
Here are a few quick facts about divorce in Wisconsin:
A couple’s divorce settlement is the document that finalizes their divorce. It includes all the court orders related to their divorce. The orders included in a couple’s divorce settlement depend on the couple’s circumstances, and reaching the terms of these final orders can be a fairly simple process or it can be a drawn-out, contentious process, depending on the couple’s willingness to cooperate and work together.
Court orders that can comprise a divorce settlement include:
A property division order. This is the document that states each partner’s share of the couple’s community property. As mentioned above, certain assets obtained during the marriage are not subject to court distribution in a divorce because they are separate property. These assets include items obtained through inheritance, gifts, property owned prior to entering the marriage, and any assets designated as separate property in the couple’s prenuptial agreement. Although Wisconsin courts typically divide divorcing couples’ property 50/50, they may choose to distribute property differently if the couple’s unique circumstances demand it.
A spousal maintenance order. When one spouse chooses to work part time or not work at all in order to care for the couple’s home and children, that spouse may be entitled to spousal maintenance after the couple’s divorce. Spousal maintenance is money paid by one spouse to the other to defray the financial impact of the divorce. In most cases, spousal maintenance is temporary and meant to cover the recipient until he or she is able to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. In some cases, though, it is paid permanently.
A child custody order. Child custody has two components: physical custody, the parent’s responsibility to provide a home for the child, and legal custody, the parent’s right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf. Parents can have joint or sole custody in either category, and it is not uncommon for parents to share one type of custody while one parent solely holds the other. To determine an appropriate child custody order, the court considers a variety of factors to determine an arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. These factors include the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s academic, medical, and emotional needs, which parent has acted as the child’s primary caregiver for the bulk of the child’s life, and any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household.
A child support order. If the couple has minor children, their divorce settlement will also include a child support order. A couple’s child support order is determined according to the state’s guidelines, which use the parents’ incomes and their custody breakdown as guiding factors.
When you have a divorce lawyer, you have an advocate. Your lawyer’s job is to work hard on your behalf to promote your interests and protect your rights. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets in an effort to keep them from being divided fairly, your lawyer can gather evidence to show the court exactly what he or she is doing and ensure that you get a fair share of your marital assets.
A divorce lawyer can also ensure that the court has accurate information about your family to use when developing a child custody order or property division order. To do this, a lawyer may draw upon his or her professional network to have one or more of the following professionals evaluate your case and share his or her findings with the court:
If you are considering filing for divorce, if you need to modify one of your divorce orders, or if you need to know more about another family law issue like child custody or spousal maintenance, schedule your initial consultation with one of the experienced divorce lawyers in Neenah on our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC. Our Neenah family law attorneys are here to answer any questions you have and work with you to exit your marriage in the most fair, straightforward way possible.