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What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people going through a divorce, you already know how difficult it is. When you’re expected to see eye-to-eye with your ex to reach agreements on important issues, it can be even harder. But your divorce attorney might suggest that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse work together to create a marital settlement agreement – and that’s in your best interest.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A marital settlement agreement is a written agreement between a married couple that resolves all the important issues, such as:

Does a Marital Settlement Agreement Need to Be Notarized?

Usually, a marital settlement agreement does not need to be notarized in Wisconsin. However, your divorce attorney will be able to provide you with case-specific guidance.

Is a Settlement Agreement the Same as a Divorce Decree?

A marital settlement agreement is not the same thing as a divorce decree. Your settlement agreement will outline what you agree to do, take or receive once your divorce is complete. A divorce decree is a court order that ends your marriage (at which point, you’re responsible for upholding your marital settlement agreement).

Is it Better to Settle Divorce Out of Court Through Your Own Marital Settlement Agreement?

For many people, it’s far better to come up with a marital settlement agreement than to litigate a divorce case in court. That’s because you’ll save time and money by coming up with your own agreement (or even by using a mediator to find common ground). Additionally, you and your ex-spouse will both have a hand in the outcome of your case, so you’re more likely to be reasonably satisfied with the outcome.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Marital Settlement Agreement?

If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation now. We’ll listen to your situation and help you get the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:49:33-05:00July 13th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

What is an Annulment?

What is an Annulment - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re considering an annulment, there are a few things you need to know first – including how to get one, what it means if your marriage was annulled, and how annulment is different from divorce.

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal declaration that makes a marriage invalid. In simpler terms, an annulment makes it like you were never even married. Under Wisconsin law, a court can annul a marriage if:

  • One party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage for any reason
  • One party doesn’t have the physical capacity to consummate the marriage (have sex)
  • One party was 16 or 17 at the time of the marriage and married without parental consent or judicial approval, or one party was under the age of 16
  • The marriage is prohibited by state law (such as when one party is already married to someone else)

According to the law, these are the only reasons a person can seek an annulment – and if they don’t fit your situation, you’re going to need to think about divorce instead.

What is an Annulment Compared to Divorce?

Annulment is different from divorce because it invalidates your whole marriage – it’s like it never even happened. Divorce, on the other hand, still acknowledges that you were married; it’s just a dissolution of your marriage contract.

Related: Can I get an annulment in Wisconsin?

How Long Do You Have to Annul a Marriage in Wisconsin?

Usually, you only have a year to annul a marriage in Wisconsin. For example, if one party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage or lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage, you must annul it no later than one year after you obtain knowledge of the incapacity.

If you’re dealing with an underaged couple, you have until the underaged party reaches the age of 18 – but a parent or guardian must bring suit within a year of learning of the marriage.

If the marriage is prohibited by Wisconsin law, you have to bring suit within 10 years of the marriage – except in the case of bigamy, and then the 10-year limitation doesn’t apply.

What is an Annulment Petition in Wisconsin?

In order to get your marriage annulled in Wisconsin, you’ll have to file a Petition for Annulment, which your attorney can do for you. The form needs to be filed in the circuit court where either party lives (and you must have lived in Wisconsin for at least 30 days before you file). For many people, the best course of action is to work with a divorce attorney who’s familiar with annulment.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Annulment?

If you’re considering annulment, or if you’d like to see what other options you have, we’ll be more than happy to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with a Milwaukee divorce attorney now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:25:54-05:00June 8th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on What is an Annulment?

Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Fathers

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Fathers - Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin child support laws – for fathers, mothers and children – require parents to contribute financially to a child’s upbringing. Once paternity has been established, a man is a child’s legal parent. That means he has obligations to that child, including those revolving around child support, custody and visitation.

Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Fathers

A parent who doesn’t have primary physical placement is typically the one who pays child support to the other parent. (Technically, both parents are responsible for providing child support – it’s just that the court presumes that the parent living with the children already bears most of the expenses.)

If the father is the parent who lives with the children most of the time, he’ll most likely be the one receiving child support from the other parent. However, if the mother is the parent who lives with the children most of the time, she’ll probably be the one who receives child support.

Related: Father’s rights in a Wisconsin divorce

How Do Wisconsin Child Support Laws Work?

In Wisconsin, a father’s rights aren’t any more important than a mother’s rights are – and even more importantly, they’re not more important than a child’s rights are.

Child support is a two-parent responsibility, and the child is the beneficiary. The courts can order one or both parents to pay reasonable child support.

The courts determine how much child support should change hands by gauging each parent’s income and a few other factors (such as which parent has primary physical custody of the child). There are actually several different guidelines judges use to determine how much child support a person has to pay – but the standard guideline typically follows this formula (although yours will likely be at least a little different):

  • 17 percent for one child
  • 25 percent for two children
  • 29 percent for three children
  • 31 percent for four children
  • 34 percent for five or more children

The above guideline is for parents that don’t fall into one of these categories:

  • High-income payers
  • Low-income payers
  • Serial family parents who support more than one family
  • Split-placement parents
  • Shared-placement parents in which each parent has the child at least 25 percent of the time
  • Shared-placement and split-placement combination parents

Your best bet is to talk to a lawyer about Wisconsin child support laws for fathers if you’re not sure how your case will work out.

Related: Can I get out of paying child support?

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Fathers?

If you’d like to talk to an attorney about how Wisconsin child support laws will affect your case, call us at 414-383-6700 now. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you figure out the best path moving forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-03-20T08:43:38-05:00May 18th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Fathers

The Wisconsin Paternity Statutes

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin Paternity Statutes - Carlos Gamino

Paternity is the established, legal relationship between a father and child – and Wisconsin’s paternity statutes recognize that relationship in a way that allows a father to assert his rights to custody and visitation. Paternity also plays a big role in a father’s legal obligations to a child when it comes to support.

What to Know About Wisconsin Paternity Statutes

Wisconsin presumes paternity when two parents are married and have a child. That means the mother’s spouse at the time of the child’s birth is considered to be the child’s father.

If the parents aren’t married, the parents can agree and sign paperwork saying that the father is the child’s biological parent. This is called acknowledging paternity, and it’s a simple, straightforward process.

If one or both parents aren’t sure about paternity, a court can decide.

Acknowledging Paternity

Parents can sign a statement that affirms a man is a child’s biological father. Then, the parents can file that statement with the Wisconsin state registrar. Once that’s done, either parent can file a case in the county circuit court to ask a judge to rule on things related to child custody and child support.

Related: Voluntary acknowledgement of paternity in Wisconsin

What if You Change Your Mind?

If new information comes to light – or if you want to “take back” your statement – you have 60 days to do so. (You can still rescind it if more than 60 days have passed, but you have to prove that you signed it because you were under duress, someone committed fraud, or there was a mistake of fact.)

Who Can File a Petition With the Court to Establish Paternity?

Any of these people can file a petition with the court to establish paternity:

  • The child
  • The child’s biological mother
  • A man who claims to be the child’s father
  • A person who has legal or physical custody of the child
  • The state of Wisconsin
  • A guardian ad litem who’s been appointed to represent the child
  • A grandparent, provided the parent is dependent on that grandparent

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Wisconsin Paternity Statutes?

If you need to talk to an attorney about how Wisconsin paternity statutes will affect your case, we’re here to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-03-20T09:55:41-05:00May 4th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on The Wisconsin Paternity Statutes

When Could a Judge Order Alimony in a Wisconsin Divorce?

When Can You Get Alimony in a Wisconsin Divorce - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you and your spouse are splitting up, you may be wondering when you can get alimony in a Wisconsin divorce. For many people, alimony – commonly called maintenance or spousal support – is a big deal… and it’s not common for couples to agree on how much money should change hands. Here’s what you know about when a judge can order alimony, how much it might be, and how long you or your spouse will receive it.

When Can You Get Alimony in a Wisconsin Divorce?

Alimony is support typically reserved for spouses who need some time to become self-sustaining after a divorce. It’s not a payment that the courts take lightly – and in order for a judge to award it, one party must let the court know that it’s necessary.  

Couples are free to agree on spousal maintenance on their own. However, if a couple can’t agree and one spouse feels he or she needs it, the courts will make a decision. Judges consider several factors in determining maintenance, including:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Both spouses’ ages and physical health, including emotional health
  • How the couple’s property was divided
  • How much education each spouse has
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • Whether the spouse who wants maintenance can eventually become self-sustaining, and how long that will take
  • The tax consequences to both parties
  • One spouse’s contribution to the other’s career, education, training or increased earning power
  • Other relevant factors

Related: Wisconsin alimony calculator

How Long Does Maintenance Last?

Spousal maintenance can last as long as the judge says it will. Some court orders for alimony last only a short time – but some can last a lifetime. In some cases, support continues until one spouse dies or remarries.

Related: Are you entitled to alimony during your divorce?

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Alimony in a Wisconsin Divorce?

If you’re considering divorce and want to find out more about alimony, whether you’re going to be the one paying it or you’re likely to receive it, we can help. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation or contact us online. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about child custody, child support, alimony and other important aspects of divorce.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-02-16T12:42:31-06:00March 12th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on When Could a Judge Order Alimony in a Wisconsin Divorce?

How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Many people call our offices to ask how to get a restraining order in Wisconsin. The courts require you to follow a certain set of procedures before a judge will even look at your request. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

A restraining order is designed to protect someone from another person. It’s a court order that tells someone not to come near you, contact you or harass you. If the subject of the restraining order violates it – meaning he or she ignores what the order says and comes near you, contacts you or harasses you anyway – he or she is subject to serious criminal penalties.

There are three types of restraining orders:

  • 72-hour no-contact orders. Usually, these types of restraining orders are automatic. The courts often issue them after domestic violence incidents.
  • Temporary restraining orders. Temporary restraining orders are only in place for a short time. They’re designed to give a person time to gather evidence to show the court that they need an injunction.
  • Injunctions. An injunction is a more permanent restraining order. These can last for up to 4 years, and if they expire, you can ask the court to issue another one.

So how do you get a restraining order? Many people ask an attorney for help. Your attorney can file a petition with the court to help you get a temporary restraining order, or TRO. The judge assigned to your case will look at your evidence and determine whether it seems like you need a restraining order; if the judge believes you need protection, he or she will issue the TRO and you’ll get a court date to come back within 14 days.

When you return to court, your attorney can present evidence that you need protection of a more permanent nature – and the judge will decide whether to issue a restraining order in your case.

Do You Need Help or More Information on How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin?

If you need help getting a restraining order – or if you’re not sure how the process works and you still need to know how to get a restraining order in Wisconsin, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today or contact us online.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-02-16T12:16:04-06:00March 12th, 2020|Criminal Law, Family Law|Comments Off on How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

Medical Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

Medical Power of Attorney in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

A medical or health care power of attorney names a person you trust to act as your agent if you can’t speak for yourself – and for most people, it’s a good idea to have one in place. But what kinds of authority does a person with a health care power of attorney have in Wisconsin? Here’s what you need to know.

Medical Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

A medical power of attorney allows you to name someone you trust to be responsible for your medical decisions if you can’t make them yourself. That person can speak for you on healthcare matters, such as whether you want to be kept on life support or you’d prefer some life-sustaining options to stay off the table.

What to Think About if You’re Considering Health Care Power of Attorney

First things first: Many people choose to have a family law attorney draft a medical power of attorney and health care advance directive for them. Because this type of power of attorney or advance directive must meet certain criteria, it’s typically easier to tell an attorney what you want included and let him or her handle the rest.

Some things you may want to consider include:

  • What life-sustaining options you want used if they become necessary, such as mechanical ventilation and CPR
  • What types of pain relief options you want if you’re nearing the end of your life
  • When you would prefer artificial life support to be removed, such as in the event of brain death
  • Whether you want to donate your organs
  • How you want your remains handled in the event of your death

Can a Lawyer Draft a Medical Power of Attorney or Advance Directives?

A lawyer can help you draft a medical heath care power of attorney and advance directives. He or she will ask you all the important questions and answer your questions, as well. That way, you can be confident that you’re being clear about your wishes – and you’re taking legal steps to ensure they’re followed.

If you need help with a medical power of attorney in Wisconsin, call our office at 414-383-6700 or contact us onine. We’ll schedule a time to meet so you can prepare yourself – and your loved ones.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-02-16T13:04:33-06:00February 6th, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on Medical Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

What is Permanent Guardianship in Wisconsin?

Permanent Guardianship in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Permanent guardianship creates a legal connection between one party and another. Under permanent guardianship in Wisconsin, the guardian is responsible for providing everything a natural guardian would be responsible for providing, such as food, a safe living environment, health care and education. The guardian becomes responsible for making important decisions in his or her ward’s life.

The two main types of permanent guardianship apply to children under the age of 18 and incompetent adults.

Permanent Guardianship of Children

Minor guardianship is typically an option when natural parents can’t – or won’t – care for a child. This type of guardianship can help keep children out of foster care or to keep a family intact when a parent is facing termination of his or her parental rights. Sometimes grandparents, aunts and uncles, and siblings apply for permanent guardianship. However, a person doesn’t have to be a blood relative to ask the court to grant them permanent guardianship of a child.

Guardianship of Incompetent Adults

Guardianship of incompetent adults is designed to protect people over the age of 17 years and 9 months who can’t care for themselves. Generally, it’s an option when a person has a developmental disability, serious and persistent mental illness, a degenerative brain disorder or another incapacity. It’s only appropriate if the adult in question has an incapacity that will result in a substantial, long-term disability – and even then, only if living without a guardian will create a serious risk of personal or financial harm to him- or herself.

Responsibilities of a Permanent Guardian

A permanent guardian has the authority to make decisions for his or her ward. Sometimes those decisions are limited to specific areas (such as education or healthcare), but in other cases, judges grant a guardian complete control over decisions related to the ward. Guardians usually have the ability to give consent on their ward’s behalf, as well as the responsibility to advocate for their ward’s rights.

Do You Need Legal Advice on Permanent Guardianship?

If you need information and legal advice on permanent guardianship, either of a child or an incompetent adult, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to learn more.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-01-16T16:27:00-06:00January 23rd, 2020|Family Law|Comments Off on What is Permanent Guardianship in Wisconsin?

3 Stress-Busting Tips to Use During Divorce

3 Tips to Bust Stress During Divorce - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like most people contemplating or going through divorce, you already know how stressful it is. But there are three things you can do to help minimize your stress, keep your head clear, and make it through your divorce with as little collateral damage as possible:

  • Talk to a therapist
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Keep a journal

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Talk to a Therapist

Talking to an impartial third party can be enormously helpful when you’re going through a divorce. Your therapist can teach you new coping strategies, listen to your issues and provide objective advice, and even help you come up with plans for your future. If you aren’t seeing a therapist or counselor right now, it’s an idea definitely worth exploring.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Everybody knows that exercise is good for your body, but it’s good for your mind, too. It provides tremendous benefits, like helping you think more clearly, rest better at night (as long as you’re not exercising heavily just before bed) and releasing brain chemicals that make you happier. Even parking at the far end of the lot at work can provide you with health benefits, especially if you make it a habit. You should definitely talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program, though.

Keep a Journal

People have been journaling for ages, and that’s because it works. In addition to giving you an outlet for your feelings – the ones you can’t talk about with your family and friends – it pulls double-duty as a written record of the things you’re going through. For example, if your attorney needs a list of the dates and times your ex failed to pick up the kids for visitation, you have one ready-made at your fingertips.

Do You Need to Talk to a Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer?

If you’re contemplating divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you. We’ll answer your questions and talk about possible outcomes during your free consultation – so call us at 414-383-6700 today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T22:25:09-06:00November 27th, 2019|Family Law|Comments Off on 3 Stress-Busting Tips to Use During Divorce

What Does “Best Interest of the Child” Mean in Wisconsin?

What Does Best Interest of the Child Mean - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When you’re talking about child custody in Wisconsin, you’ll hear the term best interest of the child. Typically, when the courts have to decide who gets child custody, that’s the judge’s primary concern – what’s best for the child or children involved.

Here’s what the phrase means.

What Does “Best Interest of the Child” Mean?

Most divorcing parents in Wisconsin are able to reach child custody agreements on their own. Together, they decide things like legal custody and physical placement. When two parents agree, the judge is likely to sign off on the agreement – as long as it’s fair to everyone involved and has the child’s best interests at heart. However, there are some cases in which parents are unable to agree on child custody; that’s when the courts have to step in and determine what’s in the child’s best interests.

When the courts are looking at what’s best for the child, the judge will consider things like:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s health
  • The connections between each parent and the child
  • The child’s ties to home, community and school
  • Whether there’s a history of family violence
  • Whether each parent is capable of caring for the child emotionally, physically and emotionally

Sometimes the courts decide to give both parents legal and physical custody of the child; in other cases, those types of custody are split up. Legal custody is a parent’s right to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, medical care (non-emergency), religion and education. The term physical placement refers to how much time the child spends in each parent’s care.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Child Custody and Your Child’s Best Interests?

If you’re a divorcing parent, you may need to talk to an attorney about child custody and how the courts determine the best interest of the child. We can help – call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T22:09:53-06:00November 27th, 2019|Family Law|Comments Off on What Does “Best Interest of the Child” Mean in Wisconsin?