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Milwaukee Family Law Blog

How to discuss financial matters prior to a wedding

A prenuptial agreement may streamline the process of dividing property in the event of a divorce. However, Wisconsin couples may wish to have a conversation about their finances and come to certain monetary arrangements even if they don't create a formal agreement. For instance, each party should discuss their financial past, their current financial situation and what their future financial goals are.

This allows the couple to get an accurate picture of their current debts, income and assets prior to getting married. Having a clear picture now makes it easier to determine who will be responsible for paying joint debts and whether either side will need or receive help paying their own debts. A conversation such as this one should also focus on whether either side has reservations about relocating for work or when it may be a good idea to buy a home or make other large purchases.

Research about which spouse ends relationships more often

A recent study conducted by a sociologist at Stanford University confirmed earlier findings that wives in heterosexual marriages in Wisconsin as well as other states were more likely to be the ones to ask for a divorce. However, this research also uncovered a surprising fact. With unmarried heterosexual couples, men and women were each equally as likely to initiate a breakup of their relatioship.

This study found that in 69 percent of cases where the married couple ultimately ended the relationship, the wife was the one who decided to initiate the divorce. Previous to this research, social scientists had assumed women were more likely to end relationships because they are more sensitive to the highs and lows of romantic relationships. According to the findings of this study, which included 2,262 adults, the reasons relationships end seem to be much more complicated.

Jurisdiction over child support modification petitions

Many parents in Wisconsin are ordered to pay child support as part of their legal separation or divorce. If their financial circumstances later change significantly, they may want to file a motion to modify their child support amount. A question may arise about where to file the petition, however, in the event that any or all of them have moved out of the state that issued the child support order.

In order to determine the appropriate state in which to file, people should become familiar with the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has been codified by every state and governs the jurisdictional issue. Under the act, if a state continues to be the residence of the payor, the payee or the child, that state will have jurisdiction. However, that means that several different states could have jurisdiction, so the law further defines jurisdiction in that event.

Meeting with an attorney to discuss a divorce

Wisconsin residents who are thinking about pursuing a divorce are sometimes reluctant to take the first step. Making an appointment with an attorney to discuss a divorce may feel like crossing a line, but knowing what to expect can often calm these anxieties. An initial divorce consultation with a family law attorney involves learning about the various legal options available and getting a better understanding of what will happen if the decision to proceed is made.

While spouses will rarely be expected to make final decisions during an initial consultation, they should still make some preparations. Attorneys will be able to give more complete advice when they are familiar with details such as the incomes of both spouses, the amount of money in bank, retirement accounts and the clauses of prenuptial agreements. Attorneys could use this information to explain how Wisconsin's property division laws will be applied and provide advice about possible spousal support.

Chris Brown seeking joint custody of his 1-year-old daughter

Wisconsin music fans may be interesting to learn that, on Aug. 3, it was reported that Chris Brown filed for joint custody of his daughter. This occurred after the mother of his 1-year-old child filed for full custody. If her request is granted, Brown would only be able to visit his daughter while being supervised.

Brown stated that he intended to be involved in the life of his child. In May, the mother of the child requested that the child support payments be increased. Brown then applied for his official paternity rights so that the child support dispute could be handled in court. Since then, the mother moved ahead and applied for full-time custody, arguing that Brown's lifestyle was dangerous for the daughter.

Common mistakes made in Wisconsin divorces

There are no doubt many Wisconsin couples who have gone through a divorce and later regretted how they handled things. This is not a surprising sentiment since ending a marriage can often be an emotional process, and many individuals are feeling both antagonistic and hurt. However, there are a few common pitfalls to avoid that can make the process easier and provide better results.

One common error is to try to rush through a financial investigation. What a couple owes and owns and how these are split up can have a huge impact on someone's life for years to come. It is essential to spend time, even if it seems boring and tedious, to collect financial information to get an accurate picture of a couple's assets.

Dad asking for full custody of his 3 children

Wisconsin residents may have heard about three Michigan children who were sent to a juvenile detention facility for refusing to spend time with their father. Now, their father is filing for full custody of the kids, claiming that their mother is a roadblock to any efforts to build a relationship with them. The filing also asks that the mother be physiologically evaluated before being granted limited visitation rights.

The family lived in Israel until the children's mother took them to Michigan where she filed for divorce in 2009. The father stated that he moved to America in 2015 to be closer with the children and to foster a relationship with them. The mother claims that he has previously abused the couple's 10-year-old child. Despite the apparent acrimony between the parents, the father says that seeing the children taken away was like an execution and that they should not be punished for the parent's poor relationship.

Kardashian and Disick breakup could lead to custody battle

Wisconsin residents may be interested to know that reality TV stars Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick have decided to part ways. The long-time couple announced their breakup on July 6.

According to media reports, Disick's split from Kardashian is said to be related to his bouts with substance abuse. He was recently photographed partying in France with an ex-girlfriend after a stint in rehab. It is not known if Disick will seek custody of the couple's three young children, but legal professionals said his past drug and alcohol problems will not necessarily bar him from gaining some form of parental rights.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck divorce after 10 years, 1 day

Wisconsin residents have likely heard about the high-profile divorce of 42-year-old actor Ben Affleck and 43-year-old actress Jennifer Garner. After exactly 10 years and one day of marriage, the couple decided to call it quits. Many believe that the date that was ultimately chosen was not a coincidence.

Although Garner and Affleck have been separated for months, they waited until after their 10-year anniversary to file for divorce. That decision may have been influenced by a law in California that states that any marriage lasting longer than 10 years is a long-term marriage. A lesser-earning spouse who is divorcing after 10 years of marriage may petition for a greater amount of spousal support than a spouse who was in a marriage of a shorter duration.

Shared parenting in child custody decisions

The concept of shared parenting, or the practice of ensuring a child receives as much time with both divorced parents as possible, is quickly gaining ground in Wisconsin and elsewhere. While courts are not supposed to prefer one gender over the other when making child custody determinations, in practice it is the mother who is most often awarded physical custody. However, the idea of shared parenting as a presumptive court order is becoming more prevalent, signaling a possible move away from the current custody system.

Census data shows that 83 percent of custodial parents are women, and fathers are often limited to prescribed periods of visitation. Many states are considering legislation to combat these trends and allow both parents to have more time with their children.