LGBTQ Divorce in Wisconsin

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LGBTQ Divorce in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law applies to all married couples, regardless of gender, who live in the state and intend to divorce. Even if you were married outside Wisconsin – in another state or even in another country, such as Canada – you can legally divorce here. Remember, though, that in order to file for divorce in Wisconsin, one of you must have lived in Wisconsin for at least 6 months and have been a resident of the county in which you’re filing for at least 30 days prior to filing. 

Courts must approach property division, spousal support (commonly called maintenance or alimony), and custody agreements the same way for same-sex couples as they do for opposite-sex couples.

Division of Property 

When it comes to the division of your marital property, you and your spouse are free to reach an agreement about who gets what. Generally, provided that the division is fair and equitable, the courts will agree. However, if you and your spouse can’t agree, the judge will decide for you. Most divorce attorneys will tell you that it’s best to reach an agreement with your spouse; otherwise, you may have to deal with appraisals and valuations, which can be costly (and time-consuming), and your divorce could take longer to complete than it ordinarily would.

Spousal Support During and After Same-Sex Divorce

If you’re entitled to spousal maintenance, which is money that one spouse pays the other during or after a divorce, the court will consider:

  • How long you were married
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the education, training, or increased earning capacity of the other
  • How old you and your spouse are, as well as your physical and emotional health as they pertain to your ability to bring in your own income
  • Whether you can become self-supporting and achieve the standard of living you had while you were married, and how long it’s likely to take for that to happen
  • How your property was divided
  • Your earning capacity and your spouse’s earning capacity
  • The tax consequences you and your spouse will face

The court can consider a number of other factors, as well; this is just a basic list.

Custody Issues With LGBTQ Divorce

Child custody and placement are determined the same way in an LGBTQ divorce as they are in an opposite-sex divorce.

Child custody refers to the right of each parent to make important decisions about the child, like non-emergency healthcare, religion, and education. In most cases, joint custody is presumed unless one party asks the court to give him or her sole legal custody.

Placement refers to the time your child spends with each parent. Most parents are able to reach agreements on where the child will live and when he or she will visit. When the child is with one parent, that parent is responsible for making routine daily decisions about the child’s care.

Vague orders – those that don’t include specific times and days, for example, and simply say “reasonable times with reasonable notice” – can be tough to enforce. Your LGBTQ divorce attorney may advise you to be specific when you’re working out your parenting plan to save you from disagreements about what’s fair or what’s not down the road.

Do You Need to Talk to an LGBTQ Divorce Attorney in Milwaukee or Waukesha?

If you’re considering divorce, or your spouse has already filed, call us right away at 414-383-6700 (Milwaukee) or 262-650-6700 (Waukesha) for a free divorce consultation. We’ll evaluate your situation and start developing a plan that gets you and your children the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

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LGBTQ Divorce in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino
By Carlos Gamino

LGBTQ couples and other nontraditional families are entitled to the same protections – and held to the same restrictions – as everyone else under Wisconsin law. If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you may benefit from talking to a Milwaukee same-sex divorce lawyer who can preserve your rights and get you (and your children) the best possible outcome.

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