New London, WI Divorce Lawyer

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Getting divorced is rarely easy. Even when the financial and legal parts of divorce are straightforward, it can be an emotionally trying process for a variety of reasons. Every divorce is as unique as the couple working through it and when an individual is not careful about knowing his or her rights and asserting him- or herself, he or she can potentially lose out on property and time with his or her children. If you have filed for divorce or if you are considering filing for divorce in the near future, be your own advocate by working with an experienced family law attorney in New London, WI.

Understanding your Wisconsin Divorce

Every state sets specific rules for divorcing couples. Wisconsin is no different. In Wisconsin, the following requirements apply to all divorces:

  • To file for divorce, the filing party or his or her spouse must have lived in Wisconsin for at least six months prior;
  • Every divorce is officially a no-fault divorce, which means the only reason a couple may cite for their divorce is “irreconcilable differences;”
  • All divorcing couples’ marital assets are divided according to the principle of community property;
  • Once an individual files for divorce, the 120-day waiting period begins. The divorce cannot be finalized until this period ends; and
  • Divorces are handled at the county level. All divorce paperwork must be filed with the circuit court of the county where the filing party or his or her spouse resides.

What to Expect from your Divorce Settlement

A divorce settlement is comprised of at least one, and possibly all four, of the following components:

  • A property division order;
  • A child custody order;
  • A child support order; and
  • A spousal support order.

As noted above, Wisconsin couples’ marital estates are divided according to the doctrine of community property. This means that in most cases, the property is distributed between the spouses equally. When a couple agrees on a way to divide their assets between them before filing for divorce, this is a simple, straightforward process. When there is conflict surrounding their property division, it can be drawn-out and complex.

In some divorces, one of the spouses seeks spousal maintenance from the other. Spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, exists to protect the lesser earning spouse from financial hardship following a divorce. Although spousal maintenance is sometimes paid until either spouse dies or the recipient remarries, it is far more common today for spousal maintenance to be paid for a limited period of time following the couple’s divorce. This amount of time is the period the court deems appropriate for the recipient to prepare to enter the workforce, after which he or she will ideally be self-sufficient.

If the couple has minor children, child support and child custody are part of their divorce order as well. A child support order requires one parent to make recurring payments to the other to help cover the costs of raising their child. The amount a parent is required to pay is determined according to a specific formula.

A child custody order is an order that states each parent’s responsibilities and rights regarding the children after their divorce. It is comprised of two components:

  • Legal custody, the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf like where he or she will attend school and the medical care he or she will receive; and
  • Physical custody, the right, and responsibility to provide a home for the child.

Parents may have joint or sole custody in either or both categories, as determined by the court. The court determines an appropriate breakdown of both types of custody based on a set of factors about the family. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each parent’s day-to-day caregiving role for the children;
  • The children’s relationship with each parent;
  • Each parent’s financial capability to provide for the children;
  • Each parent’s age and health;
  • Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household;
  • The children’s personal needs;
  • The desirability of keeping the children in their current environment; and
  • If a child is able to articulate a well-reasoned preference for his or her custody, the court may consider the child’s preference.

The court has the discretion to determine how heavily each factor weighs in its decision.

How a Divorce Lawyer in New London, WI can Help You

Your divorce lawyer is your advocate. In this position, he or she is tasked with advising you through each step of the divorce process and helping you pursue your divorce goals. Additionally, he or she works to ensure that your rights are protected through every step of your divorce.

A few specific ways divorce lawyers serve their clients include:

  • Drawing upon their professional networks to connect their clients with professionals who can aid in the divorce, like real estate appraisers and child psychologists;
  • Helping them gather and use evidence to fight back against false accusations;
  • Working with clients to gather and organize all financial documents so their marital estate can be valued accurately;
  • Advising their clients about how to handle certain steps in the divorce process, like when to make compromises and when to fight for what they want; and
  • Supporting their clients as they work through this difficult process.

You should feel comfortable discussing anything related to your divorce with your lawyer. It can take time to find a divorce lawyer you feel comfortable working with, but it is always worth your time to search for the ideal lawyer instead of just choosing the first one you meet.

Work with an Experienced New London, WI Divorce Lawyer

The most effective way to understand the divorce process as it relates to you and your case is to sit down and discuss it in detail with an experienced divorce lawyer. Get started on your divorce now by scheduling your initial legal consultation with a member of our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC.

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