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Milwaukee Family Law Blog

Tips for dealing with finances during a divorce

When a Wisconsin couple begins the divorce proceedings, the financial consequences may come as a surprise. However, there are tips a person can use to prevent their estranged spouse from leaving them financially destitute.

One of the first things a person who is facing the end of a marriage should do is contact a family law attorney. Prior to meeting with the attorney, they should have all of their financial information at hand. This way, the attorney can help the client understand what is financially at risk. A financial adviser can often be of assistance as well in the event that the financial situation is murky or complex.

Fathers as well as mothers may ask for child support

When a divorce happens in Wisconsin, either parent might ask for child support. Whether or not that child support is granted depends upon several factors including income and how often each parent has the child in his or her care.

While women have traditionally been the recipients of child support, times have changed. Men may ask for child support now from their ex-wives depending upon the family situation. However, in some cases, both men and women may resist this in the belief that men should be the providers and women should be the main caregivers. This belief was expressed publicly by Bristol Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, when the father of Bristol Palin's child asked for child support.

Protecting assets in a divorce can be difficult

Most Wisconsin couples who are contemplating divorce know that the process can be expensive. As a result, many want to get the process over with as quickly as possible so that they can move on with their lives and spend less. However, moving too fast can actually end up costing a spouse more in the long run. Those who do not fully consider the implications of certain settlements and agreements may find that they've made big mistakes.

One major mistake that a spouse can make is to not take the time to look at all of the assets. Not taking into account future interests and business interests can cost a spouse quite a bit of money, making a settlement unfair. One way to avoid missing out is to have a financial planner or investigator involved who can look for these things. They may also be able to find any potential hidden bank accounts.

Social Security benefits for divorced spouses

Wisconsin residents may be aware that the Social Security Administration has rules in place that allow divorced spouses to receive retirement benefits based on the earnings histories of their former husbands or wives. These provisions are designed to prevent divorced spouses who have made sacrifices such as staying at home to raise a family being disadvantaged during their golden years. However, only divorced spouses who were married for 10 years or longer and who have not remarried qualify for these benefits.

While the Social Security Administration takes partial years into consideration when determining if a marriage qualifies, it will not allow separate periods of marriage to be combined in order to meet the 10-year requirement. This means that spouses who divorced before their tenth wedding anniversary will not qualify for divorced spouse retirement benefits even if they subsequently remarry their former spouses. Only consecutive years of marriage are counted by the SSA.

Making co-parenting work

Many Wisconsin parents of young children are either divorced or otherwise separated from each other, but they must still work together in order to raise the children they share. There are good reasons to try to make co-parenting work, as studies have clearly shown children fare better when they grow up in shared-parenting custodial arrangements.

Co-parenting can be difficult and issues are bound to arise from time to time. When a parent is working with the other parent to raise the child, there are certain approaches they can take to make co-parenting more successful.

Reba McEntire announces divorce on Facebook

A post on Facebook may have been the first Reba McEntire's Wisconsin fans heard about her divorce to her longtime manager Narvel Blackstock. The couple had been separated for months when they officially announced the separation in August 2015, but they did not say at that time whether they planned to divorce. In her December post, McEntire said the divorce had been finalized in October.

The two had one son and were married for 26 years. McEntire said that they were still friends and that after 35 years of working together, they would continue to do so. Blackstock also manages Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, among other acts. In addition to her long career in music, McEntire starred in the hit television sitcom "Reba" from 2001 to 2007.

The widespread problem of domestic violence

Wisconsin residents may be dismayed to learn that an incident involving domestic violence takes place about once every nine seconds in the United States. Experts in the area say that much of the violence in modern society is rooted in family quarrels and disagreements, but they feel that this often goes unnoticed as law enforcement rarely places sufficient emphasis on these underlying causes when investigating violent incidents.

The issue of domestic violence crosses racial, religious and economic lines, and its victims are often seen as being somehow responsible for causing the situations they find themselves in. Advocates for domestic violence victims also say that threats made against intimate partners are often not taken seriously enough by police.

Starting the new year with a divorce

Many people in Wisconsin consider the new year a time for a fresh start, and one of the ways that couples often begin anew is to end a marriage that is failing. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer, the number of divorce filings in January goes up by one-third. If someone is considering a divorce, however, it's important that they get their affairs in order to make the process as painless as possible.

Since Wisconsin is a community property state, assets that are considered to be marital property will be split down the middle. Therefore, people should get a complete list of their assets and debts and also determine if any assets could be exempted from being considered marital property.

Who got what in the Banderas-Griffith divorce

Wisconsin residents who were surprised to hear about the end of the 19-year marriage between Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith may appreciate that the pair said they wanted to respectfully end things out of consideration for each other, their loved ones and the time they spent together. The pair's dissolution was filed on Dec. 4 in L.A. Superior Court, and it seems that the former spouses stuck to their commitment to act amicably when they finalized their divorce.

The couple apparently benefited from a post-nuptial agreement that allowed them to divide some assets without hassle. This agreement was entered into in 2004, and the effect of it is that both stars will split revenues from entertainment projects that they participated in between then and May 31, 2014.

Domestic violence and mass shootings

According to some statistics, almost every day in 2015 there has been a mass shooting in the United States. A mass shooting is defined as any event in which four or more victims are shot, regardless of whether or not any victim actually dies. The national news media has burned the names Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, and San Bernardino into the minds of America, but less-publicized domestic violence shootings happen far too often in Wisconsin and around the country.

The mass shootings that get national attention are those where an active shooter strips away the veneer of safety that most Americans apply to society at large. Gathering places such as movie theaters, churches and elementary schools are no longer considered safe zones. Americans in these traditional bastions of safety now look for the nearest exit and eye those around them with suspicion.