Brazil & Benske, LLC

Milwaukee Family Law Blog

A cautionary tale for stay-at-home spouses

It is a common story in Wisconsin. After deciding to start a family, the spouse who makes less money decides to stay home and take care of the kids, while the spouse making more money becomes the sole breadwinner. At first, this works seamlessly. One parent focuses on the money and the career, while the other focuses on family and home.

Over time, though the sole breadwinner continues to advance in their career, they feel burdened by the pressure to provide for a family. Meanwhile, the stay-at-home spouse begins to feel overwhelmed by parenthood and feels their working spouse does not spend enough time with the kids or help out enough at home.

What is the process for moving with a child after a divorce?

If you are a divorced parent who wants to move with your children to a different home, there are certain legal steps you must take. Wisconsin has strict regulations that cover relocating with children after a divorce. There were several updates to the law in 2018 that changed some of the relocation requirements and streamlined the legal process to make it easier for both parents.

The State Bar of Wisconsin provides information about how family relocation works for both parents. If you want to move with your children more than 100 miles away from your current residence, the first thing you must do is file a motion requesting the court's permission to relocate. Your motion has to include specific information: the proposed date of the move, where you want to live, why you want to move and a new placement schedule (if necessary). You must also provide the motion to your ex-spouse. He or she has the right to object to your move any time up to five days before the court hearing. This court hearing should occur within 30 days after you submit your motion.

Parenting plans for out-of-state visitation

A divorce can sometimes mean a fresh start. You may take a job out-of-state or relocate closer to old friends or family members. When your former spouse wants to stay put with the children, this can create complications as you devise the parenting plan

Though you may be hundreds of miles away from your kids, you can still see them regularly. Here are the things you should keep in mind as you draw up the paperwork.

The assets that count as marital property in a divorce

When it comes to filing for a divorce in Wisconsin, the Date of Separation is important. According to Forbes, the DOS may be decided based on when one party moved out of the house, when the couple physically separated or when the person filing for divorce announced their intent. The DOS then helps couples and courts to decide what property counts as individual or marital assets.

Wisconsin is a community property state, so assets and debts obtained during the course of the marriage tends to belong equally to both parties. That said, this is just a simplified explanation of how courts decide what belongs to whom. Here are some of the assets that divorcees may be allowed to keep for themselves:

  •          Property designated as separate property in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  •          Property owned by individual spouses before the marriage
  •          Property owned by individual spouses after the DOS
  •          Gifts from a third-party to an individual spouse
  •          Inheritances gifted to an individual spouse

When family vacations and child custody intersect

Family vacations offer a wonderful opportunity to help your children create lifelong memories. Even better, going on a family trip may boost brain development for the young ones in your family. If you share custody of your kids with a former spouse, though, you must be sure your summer vacation does not turn into a nightmare. 

Before you embark on your trip, address transportation, lodging, meals, recreation and other logistical issues. You also must think about family logistics. Here are a few tips for ensuring child custody does not become a problem while on vacation: 

Incarceration and child support

When it comes to jailtime and child support in Wisconsin, there are two main things to keep in mind. The first is that failure to keep up with child support payments could potentially land a person in jail. The second is that being in jail, whether for child support payment lapses or other reasons, does not exempt a person from the need to pay child support.

According to MSNBC, all 50 states have laws that may result in jailtime for men and women who do not keep up with child support payments. Many advocates have questioned whether or not this helps to recover child support payments for the children who need it. In the case of one father in South Carolina, who ran from police officers rather than face time in jail, he lost his life. Now, his children will never recover child support payments from their father for the rest of their lives.

Collecting alimony payments for post-2018 divorces

Alimony is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to divorce in Wisconsin. Some spouses feel bitter about paying spousal support, while others may feel awkward or guilty about asking for it. Some people may believe that homemakers and supporters are entitled to continued support from the breadwinner, while others believe it perpetuates a cycle of dependency that the former homemaker now has no incentive to break free from.

Throw in the new changes to alimony caused by the recent tax reform and the situation becomes worse. CNBC notes that the higher-earning spouse can no longer get a tax deduction for the alimony payments, which may make them less willing to pay. One potential bargaining chip is to ask for a lump-sum IRA payment instead of ongoing spousal support.

Reasons a prenuptial agreement may not be valid

Couples in Wisconsin who signed a prenuptial agreement may think going through divorce proceedings will be a lot easier because of the contract. While this can be true for some couples, it may surprise others that a judge may find a prenup to be invalid for a number of reasons.

According to, a prenup must be a written contract, so a judge will not see an oral agreement as valid. Both parties must also sign it to be binding.

Modifying divorce terms when circumstances change

After you file your divorce paperwork in Wisconsin, you may think the terms of the agreement are unchangeable. However, there are some circumstances when you may be able to modify the terms of your divorce to address changes in your life. At Brazil & Benske, LLC, we understand that divorce agreements sometimes need modifications if they are to continue meeting the needs of everyone involved.

There are many common life events that may cause you to seek a change in your divorce agreement. For example, if your income changes substantially, it may be necessary to increase or decrease the amount of spousal support you pay or receive. Sometimes divorce modifications may remove alimony orders completely.

Survey reveals post-divorce financial fears many women have

A survey of women in various stages of divorce addressed the financial aspects of ending a marriage. The survey revealed that many women encountered surprises concerning money, which culminated in a list of six major financial fears.

An in-depth study

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