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Unmarried couples and child custody

Unwed parents in Wisconsin who decide to separate will still have to deal with matters of child custody, even if they don't have to deal with a divorce. This can be a difficult matter for any couple to deal with. However, there are a few extra things for unwed couples to keep in mind.

For example, The Spruce states that a father will need to have established paternity over the child. This can be done in two ways. The simple way is for the father to be present at the child's birth and to sign the birth certificate. The other way is to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. Petitioning a court may also happen if the mother of the child contests the father's paternity. Fortunately, if a man has established paternity over a child, they will have the same rights as a married man.

Are there things I should I do before filing for divorce?

Making the decision to file for divorce is rarely an easy one. Divorce is difficult and completely changes your life and the lives of your children. Before filing for divorce in Wisconsin, there are some things you can do to help make it easier on everyone and to ensure you come out in a good place at the end.

The Huffington Post notes you should organize and update everything from your will to your debts before you file for divorce.  You should set aside money in case your soon-to-be ex-spouse decides to freeze or empty your joint accounts.  It is also important to go over all financial records so you are aware of any accounts that exist. If you have not been active in managing the household finances, make sure you get up-to-date on them and know how much it costs to maintain your current lifestyle. Getting your finances in order can help to avoid arguments once the divorce is underway. It also enables you to ensure you have the money you need to survive and take care of your own needs during the divorce process.

Study finds genetic link to divorce

Many in Wisconsin know that children who have divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves. But a new study has found that this may be due to genetics, contrary to previous findings.

As Science Daily reports, after studying Swedish national registry data, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University found that adults who were adopted as children resembled their biological parents and siblings more than those who raised them when it comes to the likelihood to divorce. This surprised researchers, who had seen previous studies linking this correlation to mimicking the marital behavior they saw modeled by their parents, often considered to be difficulty managing conflict or problems with commitment.

Children’s rights and best interests

Children in Wisconsin have long been recognized as having certain rights when it comes to the relationship with their parents and how their parents relate to one another. The Children’s Bill of Rights, as articulated by the Dane County Child Support Agency, for example, recognizes that children should be able to have a relationship with both parents, to receive guidance and support from each parent, and to have a “relaxed, secure relationship” with parents. The context, however, of these enumerated rights is that children have a right to be protected from deprivation of these rights by another parent. Parents should know that their children should be free of manipulation and should not have to listen to one parent degrade and speak in a demeaning way about the other. Children should be able to love and respect each parent, and to express that love and respect, “without having to stifle that love because of fear of disapproval.”

This enumeration of rights for children coincides with the factors that aid the courts in determining a child’s best interests. Under the family law code, the Wisconsin State Legislature has made clear that the best interests of the child are represented when parents cooperate and communicate with each other. A child is benefitted when his or her parent encourages a close relationship with the other parent and facilitates the same. Of course, there are times when a child is better off not associating with an abusive or otherwise negligent parent.

Getting behind the wheel? Steer clear of DWI with these tips

Who doesn't enjoy getting together with friends for a little football, food and fun over the weekend? After a long, hard week at work, you may be just like many other Wisconsin residents who start looking forward to the next Packers' game as soon as your feet hit the floor on Monday morning. If you're part of the tailgating scene, you may even shop for ingredients ahead of time to make the snacks and drinks you'll be serving at the next game. 

It's not uncommon for beverages at such events to contain alcohol. Having a few cold ones while you get psyched up to cheer your favorite team into the end zone is a favorite pastime of many NFL fans. Hopefully, you're fully aware of the potential risks involved when consuming alcohol if you plan to drive home later. After all, you'd hate to ruin a great tailgate party by getting in an accident or facing DWI charges, or both.

Using 401K funds for child or spousal support

Are you one of the man people in Wisconsin who is getting divorced and faces the prospect of paying either child support or spousal support or both? If so, you are not alone and you no doubt feel some level of angst about how in the world you are going to be able to afford these court-mandated payments especially knowing that your everyday cost of living will be higher as a single person than it was when you were part of a married household.

As the United States Department of Labor explains, you may be able to leverage the funds in your 401K or other employer-sponsored retirement account to help you satisfy your child support or spousal support obligations. Through the creation of a qualified domestic relations order, you can legally establish your former spouse, child or dependent as an alternate payee on your retirement account.

Will my business be affected by my divorce?

When a party to a divorce is the major owner of a closely-held business or sole proprietorship, the assets, expenses and overall valuation of the business will likely become the subject of discovery and disclosure. There are steps that can be taken to mitigate some of the effects of its inclusion in the divorce discovery procedure but without careful planning and preparation, your business could be adversely affected. 

According to the Wisconsin Lawyer, the Official Publication of the State Bar of Wisconsin, valuing a business during a divorce requires "extra care." If possible, before the divorce you can obtain an accurate valuation of your business, make necessary expenses, audit your bookkeeping and records, hire all necessary employees and provide funding for deferred compensation and retirement plans. 

The affect of domestic violence on child custody

Divorcing parents in Wisconsin not only have to deal with the divorce itself, but will also have to handle matters of child custody. Determining who will be the primary custodian, how the timeshare tables will look, and other issues will be discussed thoroughly in court. This is also where matters of abuse, neglect, and domestic violence will be noted.

The Wisconsin Legislator Briefing Book highlights the fact that while joint legal custody is often most beneficial for a child, some situations simply don't allow it. For example, if one party has committed domestic abuse against the other and there is evidence of a pattern or a singular serious incident, it is highly likely that neither joint nor sole custody will be awarded to the party responsible. In a case where both parents have been accused of violence or battery, the heftiest scrutiny will fall upon the "primary aggressor". This can be the person who has done the most damage, or the person with an actual charge.

How can I co-parent well?

Are you a divorced or separated parent in Wisconsin? If so, you know that even while you can separate yourself in many ways from your former spouse, when it comes to raising your children, you are not able to be fully separated from that person. For your own sake and especially for the sake of your children, finding ways to co-parent positively is extremely important.

Today's Parent recommends that a focus on reducing or eliminating conflict overall can be a great vision and set the stage for effective co-parenting. Certainly open hostilities between parents can be detrimental to children but kids are like radars in that they can pick up on your emotions. Therefore conflict between you and your ex that is not always in the sight or earshot of your kids can still have an impact on them.

Property division: How will we split up everything we own?

If you are contemplating the dissolution of a marriage, you likely have an idea of what you can expect from this process. After all, you have probably watched divorce play out on television or in movies, or you may have family members or friends who have already gone through it.

However, watching someone else's divorce from the outside is not the same as going through this type of family law proceeding yourself. One of the biggest sources of conflict in any divorce proceeding in Wisconsin is property division, especially if you and your spouse have high-value assets.

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