A married person in Wisconsin can file for a divorce from their spouse as long as that person had been a resident of the State Wisconsin for at least 6 months prior to the filing for divorce.
In Wisconsin, you do not need a reason for why you want the divorce from your spouse and your spouse can not prevent the divorce from happening if the spouse does not want the divorce. In addition, Wisconsin is a no fault divorce state where the Court can not penalize the person who might be more at fault for the divorce.
In Wisconsin, there are four main legal issues that the Court is required to decide when you get divorced. These issues include custody/placement of the child(ren), child support, maintenance, and property division. These issues can be very complicated and the assistance of an attorney is recommended to guide you through the process.
CHILD CUSTODY & PLACEMENT
First, custody and physical placement of the child(ren) are issues to be decided by the Court only if you have a minor child or that child is still in high school. Custody means the right to make major legal decisions for a child including medical, school, and religious decisions. The court may order joint legal custody between the parents or sole legal custody to one parent. Physical placement of the child means which parent the child physically resides with. A court may order primary, shared, or some other physical placement arrangement between the parents. If the parents are unable to agree on custody or placement of a child, a Guardian ad litem will be appointed to represent your child’s best interest.
Second, the Court must determine child support that a parent is required to pay to the other parent. Child support is typically based upon a formula which is calculated using one or both of a parent’s income and considering the percentage of placement that each parent has.
Third, the Court may order that one parent make a maintenance payment to the other which depends upon a number of different factors including the length of marriage and the ability of the other parent to become self supporting. Maintenance is essentially a payment from one spouse to the other to offset or equalize incomes. If the length of the marriage is short and/or the spouses have similar incomes, the Court may not order maintenance to be paid by either spouse. Many factors are considered when determining whether or not maintenance might be appropriate.
Finally, property division is the last major issue that the Court must decide. Wisconsin is a marital property state whereby all property, even if acquired before the marriage, is presumed to be divided equally between the spouses at divorce. This would include all debt of the spouses. The exception to this rule is any property that was acquired by one spouse by gift or inheritance and that property maintained it’s separate character and identity. The issues that arise with regard to the division of property can become very complicated including who receives certain marital assets and the valuation of those marital assets.
These are not all of the issues that are required to be determined by a court when a married couple decides to divorce but they are the major issues. It is important to speak with attorney about your legal rights if you are contemplating or in the process of getting a divorce. Please contact Green Bay family law attorney Greg Babcock of our office to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options.
For your divorce law, other family law, and related legal issues, call the law office of Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. today: 1-920-437-8191.