Questions + Answers About

Family Law

If my spouse and I agree on everything, can we just hire one attorney to draft our divorce agreement?

You should each have your own lawyer – even if you agree on everything. A divorce is still an adversarial situation and one lawyer cannot advise both of you about the terms and consequences of the agreement. Each party should have their own attorney to provide independent advice.
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Do my spouse and I need to enter into a divorce agreement before we separate?

No, you may enter into a divorce agreement before or after you separate.
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How long do you have to live together to get palimony?

Palimony is not based solely on the length of time you’ve lived together, but rather the state of your relationship. A court may authorize palimony if there is evidence to show that you and your partner had an arrangement that was similar to marriage. This arrangement can be verbal, written or implied. Evidence that may support the existence of a contractual relationship include:

- Comingling of assets
- Sharing of income and property
- Co-signing major purchases
- Shared credit cards
- Naming your partner as a beneficiary for benefits
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If parents share custody, does anyone need to pay child support?

Joint custody doesn’t negate a child support obligation. Even if both parents share custody on an equal basis, one parent will inevitably owe some amount in child support.

Wisconsin child support guidelines calculate the obligation based on time spent with each parent and the income of each parent. So even if the child spends equal time with each parent, the parent with the higher income will owe child support.
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How do the courts determine who gets custody?

Contrary to what many people believe, the court does not want to determine who gets custody of a child. They prefer that parents work together to determine custody and parenting plans, either directly or with the help of a third party. After all, who knows what is in the best interests of a child better than his or her parents? Negotiating child custody directly allows you and your ex equal say in how you want to raise your children.

If the court must step in and make custody decisions, the overriding consideration will always be in the child’s best interests. Some factors for consideration:

- Has one parent been the primary caretaker, or have the parents shared the responsibility?
- What is the mental and physical health status of the parents?
- Will the child be in a stable home environment?
- Will the child have an opportunity for interaction with members of their extended family?
- Are there any school or community adjustments that will need to be made?
- Is there any evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sexual abuse?
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