Guiding You Through The Divorce Process
Divorce impacts individuals and families in a number of ways. At W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C., we work closely with each client, providing a comprehensive evaluation of the financial and legal issues involved in family law cases. Our family law attorneys and divorce lawyers are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and their interests. Consultative and involved, we provide you with the information you need to make informed, prudent decisions regarding you and your family’s future.
To schedule a consultation, contact the Wisconsin family law attorneys at W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C., today. Our Madison office represents clients throughout Dane County.
Divorce And The Division Of Property
In a divorce, most of a couple’s property can be divided. The marital estate subject to division under Wisconsin law includes all property of either party acquired during the marriage, except property received by one spouse by inheritance or as a gift from a third party. However, even gifts and inheritances can be divided in some circumstances.
Common assets to be divided in a divorce include real estate; retirement accounts; bank accounts; stocks, mutual funds and other investments; vehicles; and home furnishings. Additionally, a business interest of one or both spouses may be subject to division in divorce.
If the couple cannot agree on the property division, the court will divide the property. Wisconsin courts start with the presumption that the property division should be equal, but numerous factors allow the court to depart from this presumed equal division. The length of the marriage, property brought to the marriage by the parties, and each spouse’s contribution to the marriage are some examples of factors to be considered.
Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is financial support under Wisconsin law that one former spouse pays to the other spouse. Maintenance payments can be ordered for an indefinite or a limited or temporary period. Some factors that the Wisconsin courts can consider in ordering maintenance include: the length of the marriage; earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance; the age and health of the parties; the property division between the parties; the tax consequences to each party; and the educational levels of the parties.
The level of child support in Wisconsin is often based on certain child support percentage standards set by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Wisconsin courts can deviate from these standards, however, based on numerous factors. Once a child support order is in place, the party seeking to revise or amend the existing order must show the court that there has been a substantial change of circumstances.
Joint legal custody in Wisconsin means that both parents share rights and responsibilities with respect to the minor children. “Legal custody” addresses who has the right (and responsibility) to make important decisions effecting a child – such as public or private schooling and selection of religion. As a practical matter, the parent with whom the children are actually living has the responsibility to make those decisions which are necessary in the natural course of caring for the children, subject to consultation with any other custodian(s).
At W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C., our child custody lawyers maintain all client information in strictest confidence. We explain the factors involved in awarding custody and how child support is calculated.
Whereas child custody deals with decision making authority, placement deals with the actual physical placement of the children. This can include visitation rights of third parties, such as grandparents. In Wisconsin, if physical placement of the child or children is contested, the parent seeking physical placement may have to file a parenting plan with the court.
Additionally, the parties may be required to submit to mediation and a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the best interests of the child or children. The court may then allocate periods of physical placement of the minor child or children based on certain statutory factors and the facts of a specific case.
Contact W.R. Stewart & Associates, S.C., Today
Be prepared, informed, and protected – contact our Madison, Wisconsin, family law attorneys and divorce lawyers at 608-509-9049. We can help you avoid future problems and uncertainty.