Families across Wisconsin look at lot different today than they did a generation or two ago. As a reflection of these shifts, family laws have also gone through some significant changes during that time.
However, despite laws that prioritize fairness and facilitate placement orders that maximize each parent's time with the kids, men in particular can still feel at a distinct disadvantage when it comes time to divorce. With this in mind, we encourage men who are getting divorced to keep the following things in mind.
- Get a test if there is reason to question paternity of a child. If legal fatherhood is not established, then you will not have rights to custody or visitation. If a test proves you are not the father, then you will not be responsible for child support. So, if there is any doubt about a child's father, get a paternity test.
- Understand the guidelines for spousal support and property division. Your ex is not going to "get everything." In Wisconsin, marital assets are divided equally, and spousal support is only ordered under certain circumstances.
- Show your commitment to co-parenting if you want to secure a shared custody arrangement. Working with an ex during the divorce process can be an extraordinary challenge in patience and flexibility. However, proving that you can set aside your contentious relationship in favor of your children's well being is a strong sign that you are prepared and willing to co-parent.
- Keep your emotions in check. Lashing out by yelling, making derogatory comments or getting physical with an ex can be the easiest way to lose the battle. Staying calm, cooperating and leaning on your attorney to resolve disputes will be critical in protecting you now and in the future.
While the laws in Wisconsin are supposed to ensure men and women get fair treatment in a divorce, it can be easy to feel as though you are under more scrutiny during the process if you are a man.
However, remembering the points we made above and working with your attorney can help you secure a satisfactory divorce settlement, custody schedule and ongoing support agreements.