Sometimes, you reach a point with your spouse where you simply cannot make your marriage work. Maybe your spouse committed an act of infidelity, maybe he or she is abusive, or maybe your views and goals for the future are simply too different for you to remain in a harmonious marriage. When you reach this point, it is time to consider a divorce.
In 2014, 15,243 Wisconsin marriages ended in divorce. Whether you live in Neenah, Appleton, or elsewhere in the Badger State, it is important that you familiarize yourself with Wisconsin’s divorce laws before you move forward with yours.
Wisconsin is one of the states whose laws require divorce courts to distribute couples’ property according to the doctrine of community property. This means that when a couple divorces, their marital property is split between them 50/50.
Marital property refers to any assets that were obtained during the couple’s marriage. Assets held by each individual before the marriage began are considered to be separate property and as such, are not subject to division by the court during a divorce.
Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is money paid from one spouse to another after a divorce to minimize his or her financial burden following the divorce. Spousal maintenance can be sought by an individual of either sex, regardless of the reason for his or her divorce. To determine an appropriate spousal maintenance amount for an individual, the court considers various factors such as the length of his or her marriage, how his or her property was divided, and the tax implications that a spousal maintenance arrangement would have on both parties.
In Wisconsin, it is possible for an individual to file for divorce without providing a reason, or a “fault,” for his or her decision. This is known as a no-fault divorce. Once an individual files for divorce, he or she must “serve,” or deliver, documentation of doing so to his or her spouse within 90 days. The spouse then has 20 days to file a counterclaim or to agree to the divorce in writing. If he or she does not do this, the court may enter a default judgment against him or her. This means that the court grants the divorce to the individual who filed to end the marriage.
Filing for divorce does not mean that you are a bad person or that you failed at your marriage. It simply means that remaining in your marriage is not in your best interest. If you are ready to file for divorce, contact an experienced Appleton family law attorney to discuss your rights and how you can move forward with the process of ending your marriage. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC is here to help you by answering your questions and guiding you through the divorce process, protecting your rights and interests at every step.