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Not married? Dividing assets might be complicated

An increasing trend for couples across the country is to cohabitate without getting married. However, spending years with the same person can have the same results as if you were both married – you might have bought a house together, opened joint bank accounts and credit cards and had children. At the Mayer Law Office, LLC, we understand that long-term cohabitation can be complicated for you and other Wisconsin residents if the relationship did not last.

How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are a Wisconsin man who was not married to your child’s mother at the time he or she was born, Wisconsin does not consider you to be your child’s legal father or to have any rights to him or her unless you formally establish paternity. As the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families explains, you can do this in any of the following three ways:

Co-parenting and holiday stress

Even in families where the parents are married, the holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year for Wisconsin. Throw in a divorce, especially a recent one, and the stress levels can rise quickly. Many people with young children may be especially concerned about how to balance time with their kids when traditions will naturally change. If you are in this situation, it is good for you to know that there are things you may do to simplify things for you and your children.

How much should your kid know about your divorce?

When Wisconsin parents decide to divorce, you may be thinking of a lot of different things. Who will get the house? Will one parent get primary custody, or will you go with joint custody? How will you deal with your financial situation? In all of this chaos, you may forget one important thing: what exactly will you tell your child?

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.

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.

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."

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.

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