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If you are considering divorce, or if you have been served with divorce papers, you probably have questions and concerns about Wisconsin divorce laws. At Bandle & Zaeske LLP, our attorneys provide compassionate, aggressive representation during your divorce. Our attorneys understand that this is one of the most difficult experiences of your life. We take the time to explain each phase of your case so that you know what to expect.
Wisconsin is a marital property state. In most cases, marital property will include all income and assets that a couple acquires after getting married. Marital property may also include premarital property that each spouse brought into the marriage.
In a divorce, there is a presumption that the property will be divided equally. However, this presumption may be overcome with an examination of several factors, including:
The parties may take several months to work out property division in their case. Each case will be carefully analyzed and property will be divided based upon the individual circumstances in that marriage.
Child custody and placement
For parents, child custody and placement is the biggest concern in a divorce.
Legal custody refers to the decision-making power each parent has regarding the children. For example, if a parent has legal custody of the children, that parent may decide where to send the children to school. One parent may have sole legal custody of the children, meaning that parent makes all of the decisions on behalf of the children. Or, the parents may share joint custody, which means that each parent has equal rights to make decisions about the children. In Wisconsin, it is presumed that the parents will share joint legal custody.
Physical placement refers to the time the children spend with each parent. While the children are in a parent’s physical care, that parent has the right to make routine decisions on their behalf. During a divorce, a placement schedule will be created that lays out when each parent has time with the children. These placement schedules may be as specific as the parents wish, taking into consideration the children’s school calendars as well as the parents’ work calendars.
Parents are expected to provide both financial and emotional support to their children, and this expectation does not change simply because the parents no longer live together.
Child support amounts vary depending on the parents’ incomes, the number of children that they have, and specific expenses the children may have. Generally, if a parent has fewer than 92 overnights with the children (less than 25 percent placement) in a year, child support will be calculated at 17 percent of that parent’s income for one child, 25 percent for two children, 29 percent for three children, 31 percent for four children, and 34 percent for five or more children.
Maintenance refers to payments that one spouse makes to another for either a limited or an indefinite period of time. Many spouses call this “alimony,” but in Wisconsin, it is known as maintenance.
The court will consider the following factors when making a decision on maintenance:
The decision to award maintenance is left to the discretion of the court.