When you have questions about divorce matters, it is best to speak with a lawyer about your options moving forward. Below you find some commonly posed questions and brief answers that offer a general overview. For more comprehensive answers and to discuss potential solutions, contact our La Crosse law office by calling 608-784-2050 and speaking with attorney Ann I. Brandau.
- Do you handle child custody disputes in both Wisconsin and Minnesota?
— Yes. As a family law firm, one of the most important aspects of our practice is assisting families with child custody disputes. We can explain the differences between legal custody, physical custody, sole custody and joint custody and the best options for creating a parenting time or placement schedule.
- How long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin?
— Wisconsin requires a 120-day waiting period after starting a divorce. This is the time to get financial matters in order. Attorney Brandau can work with you to assess your needs and plan for the future. There are also numerous residency requirements that must be fulfilled before initiating a divorce.
- Is Wisconsin a marital property state?
— Yes, Wisconsin is one of 10 marital property states. Marital property assumes that both parties are equal owners of marital property and moves to divide all marital property based on a 50-50 split.
- Is Minnesota a community property state?
— No, Minnesota is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property is divided equitably between spouses. Numerous factors play into equitable distribution such as the length of the marriage and whether one spouse worked while the other cared for the children.
- How do I enforce a court order?
— Having a court order does not necessarily mean that it will be obeyed by all parties. For example, a parent who is ordered to pay child support, but fails to do so is not abiding by the court's order. If a party to a court order does not obey the order, the court can order a party to "show cause," which means that the court issues a subpoena ordering him or her to appear before the court and show good cause as to why he or she has not abided by the court's previous order.
- How much does a divorce cost?
— Cost is always a factor, but it may not be wise to decide about representation solely by cost when the issues are as important as your family, assets, debts, retirement accounts and home. What should be more important to you in deciding to hire an attorney is: 1) Can I relate to this person? 2) Do I feel comfortable that this attorney will be looking out for my best interest? 3) Does this attorney see the big picture and understand what is important to me? 4) Is this attorney honest with me and willing to tell me if my position is not on strong legal ground? Finally, the costs associated with divorce can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. One of the best methods for keeping costs to a minimum is finding a way to work with your attorney and spouse and reach agreements that don't involve litigation.
- Can I stop my spouse from divorcing me?
— "No-fault" divorce laws require only that one spouse attest to the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be repaired. During the final divorce hearing, the judge will ask each spouse if that is his or her belief. If a spouse answers yes, the court will proceed, completing the findings of facts, and dissolve the marriage.
On the other hand, there are times when the parties want to slow or suspend the divorce process to attempt reconciliation. Ultimately, if one spouse wants a divorce, the other cannot prevent it from happening.