Waukesha County Divorce Lawyers
Waukesha Divorce Attorneys Providing Compassionate Representation
At The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C., we know that deciding to divorce or separate from your spouse is never an easy choice to make. Our Waukesha divorce attorneys handle divorce cases with experience, skill, and compassion.
Divorce in Waukesha County
Our Waukesha County divorce attorneys understand the effects that marital issues have on your life. When you are in a difficult marriage situation and need advice or protection, we’re here for you.
Regardless of why you’re in this situation, we can guide you through it. Ending your marriage will have stressful moments, but it does not have to be an adversarial process. We have been able to settle many clients’ cases through mediation avoiding a lengthy courtroom battle.
Ultimately, our goal is to reach a settlement that promotes your priorities as well as the best interests of your family members, especially the children. From divorce and legal separation to restraining orders and marital property agreements, we offer a listening ear, wise counsel and forceful advocacy if needed.
Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Wisconsin?
Yes and no. The court won't favor the spouse who files first (meaning, you won't "win" the case just because you filed the divorce action).
However, there may be a few advantages, such as:
1. Having More Control - As the Petitioner, you decide when the divorce begins or even to cancel the process (if you make that decision before your spouse has filed a response).
2. Choosing the Court - If you and your spouse live in separate states, filing first allows you to decide where the divorce takes place.
3. Time To Prepare - Since you have more time to prepare than the Respondent (who only gets 20 days), you will be able to make sure your finances and important documents are in order and ensure your spouse isn't hiding any assets.
There are a few potential disadvantages as well. For example, the Petitioner is responsible for paying the court filing fee, which is around $200. They will also likely be responsible for preparing the majority of the paperwork, which could possibly result in paying more attorney fees as well.
Is Wisconsin a Community Property State?
Yes. In Wisconsin, property distribution during a divorce follows the guidelines of community property, which means everything a married couple owns together is divided equally between the two parties upon divorce.
Marital property includes any earnings, property, or assets gained during the marriage with a few exceptions.
Some assets are considered individual property, such as:
- Assets owned prior to the marriage
- Or gifts from someone other than the other spouse
If you want to keep these assets separate, be sure not to mix them with marital assets.
Collaborative Divorce in Waukesha County
While we have done traditional divorces for decades, and continue to be available for those cases, we encourage the parties to embrace the collaborative divorce process where appropriate. It focuses on helping family members transition in a mutually respectful manner.
Our collaborative divorce law practice is a unique alternative to handling divorce cases and other family law matters.
It is founded on three core principles:
- A written pledge to not take the dispute to court
- Open communication between the parties
- And negotiations that lead to a mutually acceptable settlement
In addition to specially trained attorneys, you may use mental health practitioners and financial specialists in the collaborative process to ensure positive outcomes for all members of your family. Contact our divorce lawyers in Waukesha when you need advice or protection in a difficult marriage situation.
We will discuss your rights and responsibilities, and the divorce process options. Ultimately we will reach a settlement that upholds the priorities and interests of all family members, but especially the children.
For more information on collaborative divorce, visit the Collaborative Family Council of Wisconsin’s website.
What are the Benefits Of Divorce Mediation?
When people think of divorce, they might picture harsh, emotional arguments with their soon-to-be-ex-spouse in the courtroom. There is no denying that divorce is both emotional and stressful.
It is very possible that spouses might disagree many times throughout the process of ending their marriage. However, the mediation process does not have to involve the strain of formal court hearings. It is often a less expensive option.
The mediation process provides several benefits for divorcing spouses:
- Mediation is flexible and often requires less time
- It often costs less than taking matters to court
- Spouses can create more practical and effective agreements
If you're interested in mediation, contact our divorce attorneys in Waukesha today to schedule a consultation.
Six Divorce Mediation Tips
When planning for divorce mediation, keep these six suggestions in mind. Mediation isn't always the best option for every couple. Spend considerable time on each suggestion, thoroughly exploring each, to offer yourself the best chance of achieving success in mediation. This necessitates a great deal of soul-searching as well as financial planning.
Prepare to Make Concessions and Reach an Agreement, Not to Win
It goes without saying that divorcing couples are always filled with negative emotions. There may be a desire to avenge yourself, to win, or to be compensated for the misery you've endured as a result of the marriage. Many divorcing couples are looking for a sense of justice that they don't believe exists right now.
Put Your Personal Feelings Aside and Plan to Function Logically
A divorce is bound to elicit a slew of emotions. It is possible to go through the stages of grief for many years. These phases of grief don't always occur in that order. You can go in and out of them at any time.
Sadness, rage, and regret over the breakup of your marriage are normal and common emotions to experience during this difficult time. They assist you in healing and recovering from your loss.
Make a List of All Your Savings, Belongings, and Debts
It's essential to have a straightforward and accurate picture of what you and your partner own together. This can quickly add up and become confusing if you've been married for a long time. But that doesn't rule out the possibility of mediation assisting you in reaching a fair agreement on the division of these different properties.
Create a Budget
One of the most difficult aspects of separating into two households is estimating the financial consequences. Knowing precisely what the real expenditures would be can be complicated. Try to be as cautious as possible when estimating. Also, be as accurate as possible.
Make a List of Your Questions and Be Ready to Discuss Them
Are you thinking about your children's daycare? Maybe you're not sure if your partner is ready to be solely responsible for the baby. Is there something special about a child's health?
It's possible that dividing your assets would be a challenge. Create a list of whatever is keeping you awake at night and be able to discuss it in mediation. Now is the time to address these issues.
Look for a Divorce Mediator That Has a Track Record of Success
Divorce mediators are not exactly the same. Mediation is an ability that can be learned. Years of experience also help. Your mediator's legal expertise is also helpful. Check out what others have to say about the mediator you've selected. Arrive at the table prepared to find a solution.
Waukesha Legal Separation
Legal separation is an alternative for people who wish to avoid divorce with the hope of reconciliation or for other personal reasons. Separation involves the same legal procedures as divorce and therefore requires property division and determination of child custody and placement, where necessary.
The court may order maintenance and child support payments. Our Waukesha County divorce lawyers can help you through the separation process.
If the relationship is not restored during the separation, after one year either spouse can seek to have a legal separation converted into a divorce without the other spouse’s consent. In that case, traditional divorce lawyer services can be pursued.
Contact our Waukesha Divorce Attorney Today
If you are interested in divorce, mediation, or legal separation, contact our divorce lawyers in Waukesha today. We can help you choose the best course for your specific situation. Our firm proudly serves clients in Waukesha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Washington counties from our office in Brookfield.