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Milwaukee, WI 53202
Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

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Milwaukee, WI divorce attorney for child custodyBy Attorney Max Stephenson

During your divorce, you and your spouse will need to resolve issues regarding the custody of your children. In Wisconsin, child custody may be granted solely to one parent, giving them the responsibility to make decisions about how the child will be raised. However, in most cases, the court will decide that the parents should have joint or shared custody, and divorced or separated parents will work together to make decisions for their children. Joint custody is usually appropriate if both parents are able to perform parental duties, are able to work together, and have no current conditions or conflicts that would affect the children or their environment.

In addition to child custody, a divorce agreement will address the physical placement of children, which refers to the time the child will spend with each parent. Even if one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent may be allocated a reasonable amount of physical placement.

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Milwaukee retirement account division attorneysSplitting assets in a divorce can be a stressful process. In many cases, retirement accounts are some of the most valuable assets owned by a couple, and as with other marital property, they should be divided equally between spouses. Even if you do not expect to use the funds in your retirement account until many years in the future, it is still considered a marital asset that is measured by its current or predicted value. Unless your retirement accounts were established prior to your marriage or are protected within a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, they will need to be split 50/50 between you and your spouse.

Addressing Common Types of Retirement Accounts

The three major types of retirement benefits that may need to be divided during a divorce include:

  • IRAs - An individual retirement account that can house a wide variety of financial products, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 
  • 401(k)s - A 401(k) plan is a company-backed retirement account that employees can contribute to. In many cases, employers will match a certain percentage of an employee’s contributions.
  • 403(b)s - A 403(b) is a retirement account for certain employees of public schools and tax-exempt organizations. Those who may have a 403(b) account include teachers, school administrators, professors, government employees, nurses, doctors, and librarians.

Splitting Retirement Accounts

Retirement savings can be split in one of two ways:

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By Attorney Max Stephenson

Milwaukee alimony lawyerFor some couples who choose to get divorced, one spouse is at a financial disadvantage. This may be because they were a stay-at-home parent, or simply because they earn a lower income than their former partner. To ensure that a person in this situation can continue to enjoy the same standard of living they had while married, alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance payments, may be awarded by the court. 

Alimony Factors

According to Wis. Stat. § 767.56, the court may take certain factors into consideration when deciding whether to grant maintenance or how much maintenance should be awarded. These factors include:

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Milwaukee, WI family law attorney for grandparent visitation

By Attorney Max Stephenson

Families can be complicated, and this means that matters of family law can also involve a variety of complex issues. Divorce and child custody cases often result in contentious disputes, and when issues such as visitation rights of grandparents or other third-parties are added to the mix, they can be difficult to resolve. Parents and grandparents should be sure to understand their rights in these situations. 

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Milwaukee, WI divorce lawyer for pet ownershipBy Attorney Max Stephenson

Pet owners can be very attached to their animals, and a growing trend in the United States is to treat pets more like family than property. So, when a Wisconsin couple is facing divorce, the question naturally arises: “Who gets the pet?” When it comes to divorce, Wisconsin state law still considers pets as property, and therefore, they are included in the division of the couple’s assets and liabilities. This means legally, the pet is assigned to one or the other spouse, and since the pet is considered property, there are no court-sanctioned custody or visitation rights.

A 50/50 State

Wisconsin is considered a community property state, which means all marital property in a divorce (or legal separation or annulment) is divided 50/50 between the two partners. As stated above, this normally means the pet will be awarded to one or the other spouse. However, the 50/50 split excludes property that was given as a gift to either spouse separately or property that was inherited separately. Therefore, if the pet was a gift to one of the spouses or, for example, the pet was inherited from a parent, this might be grounds for the pet to be awarded to one spouse over the other.

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