WI Family Law Blog

Family Law Resources for Wisconsin Residents

How Child Support Gets Paid

Child support must be paid through the State Trust Account. The following ways are the most common way for child support to be paid in Wisconsin:

1) Income Withholding Order
2) Mailing Support Payments
3) Pay by Phone
4) Pay Online

Child Support and Taxes

Child support is tax-neutral, therefore, if you're currently paying child support, it can't be deducted. On the other hand, if you're currently receiving child support, it's not considered taxable income.

Dividing Retirement Accounts during a Divorce

Retirement accounts are considered marital property and therefore split equally between the divorcing parties. The most common accounts are divided as follows:
– IRAs – Divided with the process “transfer incident to divorce”
– 401(k) – Divided using a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (QDRO)
– 403(b) – Also known as pensions use a QDRO

Dealing with Who Gets the House in a Divorce

When determining who gets the house in a divorce a house must be classified as marital or community property and not separate property. A judge can then award one spouse the marital home. This can be accomplished in one of four main techniques: 

1) Agree to a Buyout
2) Give up Other Assets
3) Take the Home Instead of Alimony
4) Co-own the House

Finding Hidden Assets in Divorce

Finding hidden requires going through financials and taxes. To find hidden assets the follow are a great place to look first: 

1) Tax Returns
2) Savings Accounts
3) Money Market Accounts
4) Investment Accounts
5) Checking Accounts
6) Lifestyle Analysis
7) Cash Flow Analysis of Business

How Courts Divide Property

Wisconsin is a marital property state, which means everything owned by the married parties is owned equally by both parties and therefore should be distributed equally at the time of divorce. The details of the property rights of married persons can be read under Wisconsin Statute Chapter 766.

Length & Duration of Alimony Payments

In Wisconsin the duration of alimony is based on the length of marriage, age and income difference of spouses. There are not written guidelines for the length of maintenance, but the unwritten starting point most courts agree with is as follows:

1) Marriages less than 10 years = no maintenance
2) Marriages between 10-20 years = maintenance half the length of the marriage
3) Marriages longer than 20 years = indefinite maintenance

Tax Implications of Alimony

Federal IRS Topic 452 declares alimony is taxable income for the recipient and alimony is a tax deduction for the payor in all circumstances except if you and your spouse file a joint tax return with each other. 

Legal Custody Defined

Wisconsin statutes define custody as decision making rights. During child custody cases the parent or parents awarded custody has the right to make major decisions in the minor child's life.

Legal Custody v. Physical Custody

There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the decision-making authority. Physical custody is where the child resides during everyday life as well as specific times like birthdays, holiday, and other special dates.

Court Ordered Mediation

To file a divorce in Wisconsin you must fulfill the following requirements: Either the husband or the wife must be a Wisconsin resident a minimum of 6 months and immediately prior to filing must reside in the county they file for divorce for the last 30 days.

Wisconsin Divorce Residency Requirements

To file a divorce in Wisconsin you must fulfill the following requirements: Either the husband or the wife must be a Wisconsin resident a minimum of 6 months and immediately prior to filing must reside in the county they file for divorce for the last 30 days.

What are the Different Types of Alimony in WI?

No matter what name it goes by, spousal maintenance, alimony, or spousal support, it is a critical part of the divorce judgment. It's important to understand your choices when negotiating your support order so your attorney can help advocate for the best alimony terms.

The Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce

Legal separation allows a couple to remain married, maintaining the financial advantages of marriage while being able to live separate lives. An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marriage. If the couple reconciles, the court can set aside the judgment of legal separation.

Temporary Custody

In most cases, temporary custody will be determined by the judge. It is highly recommended that if you want to have custody over your son or daughter, you must file an affidavit before the court where the petition for divorce had been filed.

When Does Child Support End?

Wisconsin uses overnights, or where the children sleep, to determine how much child support should be paid by the non-residential parent. Joint custody payments vary depending on overnights, but for sole custody, the court uses the standard percentage model based on the number of children. For 1 child, it is 17%. For 2 children, it is 25%. For 3 children it is 29%. For 4 children, it is 31%. For 5 children, it is 34%.

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