Have Family Law Questions? We Can Help Answer Them.
Clients come to us with many questions about their divorce, child custody or other family law issue. This page is meant to answer some of the more common questions we are asked, but we are always happy to answer any additional questions you may have during an initial consultation.
Can child custody be modified?
Yes, it can if circumstances warrant. Courts want to maintain stability and consistency for children after divorce, but they also recognize that needs and circumstances change over time. You can petition the court to modify the order, but the court will only grant the petition if you can demonstrate a significant change in circumstances or the needs of the children such that the current custody order no longer serves their best interests.
Our firm can help you petition to modify custody or prevent a modification, depending on your position.
Who gets child custody in divorce and how is it decided?
In Wisconsin, all child custody decisions are case-specific and must be based on the best interests of the child or children involved. Therefore, despite what someone may have told you anecdotally, Wisconsin is not a “mom state” or a “dad state.” There is no bias based on gender.
In many cases, parents will share what’s known as legal custody, which refers to decision-making authority over major aspects of the child’s life (education, religion, etc.). When it comes to physical custody (also known as placement), it is common for one parent to have the child/children with them the majority of the time, while the other parent is allocated less time.
There are numerous criteria that go into custody decisions, including the child/children’s relationship with each parent, the developmental needs of the child, any evidence/history of substance abuse or domestic abuse, and each parent’s ability and willingness to communicate and cooperate with the other. These are just a few of many criteria considered.
What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?
Essentially, the difference comes down to how many issues are unresolved between the divorcing couple. If the two parties agree on all terms of the divorce ahead of time (including property division, child custody, etc.), the divorce is largely a matter of paperwork and process. If the couple is far apart on many issues, the divorce is contested, and the differences will need to be resolved through litigation, mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution.
Even if your divorce will be uncontested, it is still important to consult with an experienced attorney for help, because divorce is still a legal process. Saving money by not hiring an attorney could end up costing you more money and time trying to fix a mistake or losing out on marital assets that you should be entitled to.
What are the grounds for divorce in Wisconsin?
There are no fault-based options for seeking divorce in Wisconsin. Even if only one spouse wants out of the marriage, a judge will consider it “irretrievably broken” and will grant the divorce. All other discussions will be about divorce terms and provisions.
How is property divided in Wisconsin divorce?
Wisconsin is among only a handful of states that follow the “community property” model of asset division. This means that nearly any property obtained by either party during the marriage is considered jointly owned and will be subject to an equal division.
There are ways to deviate from this model for individual assets, but it requires the help of an experienced family law attorney like those at our firm.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Own Family Law Questions
Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C., is based in Hudson and we proudly serve clients throughout the neighboring areas of Wisconsin. To schedule your initial consultation, call us at 715-338-3312, or send us an email.