Same-Sex Divorce and Child Support

Family Law Attorney Guiding Residents of Milwaukee and Surrounding Areas

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, many same-sex couples struggled with unique complications and challenges when seeking to distribute property, determine child support, and allocate child custody after a separation. Now that same-sex marriages have been legalized in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S., same-sex couples may take advantage of the same divorce and child support protections and procedures already available to opposite-sex couples. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee same-sex divorce lawyer Terese J. Singer has assisted many Wisconsin residents with the sensitive matters that may arise upon the dissolution of a marriage. If you need a family law attorney to protect your interests, she is ready to represent you.

Same-Sex Divorce and Child Support in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that neither spouse is required to prove that the other spouse engaged in actions that would justify seeking a divorce. Instead, any party initiating a divorce must only show that at least one of the two spouses has been a resident of Wisconsin for six months or more, and the marriage between the two has reached a state where it is “irretrievably broken.”

If the parties agree on most of the main issues, a divorce can be relatively straightforward, with both spouses consenting to a full marital settlement agreement. If there are many contested issues, by contrast, completing a divorce may require a judge to make decisions that affect each spouse’s future. One commonly contested issue in divorce is the payment of child support. Wisconsin law requires that when one parent has custody of a child for more than 50% of the time, the other parent typically must make child support payments. How these payments are made is determined by Wisconsin’s percentage guidelines and the unique circumstances of each family.

Since the recent legalization of same-sex marriage, many unique issues have arisen for same-sex couples. For people moving from states that recognized their marriages to those that did not recognize them, like Wisconsin, there was often a sudden switch from formal to informal procedures. Many same-sex married couples facing the possibility of separation were forced to do so informally, dividing up property in a manner that worked for them but that was not technically sanctioned by the courts. Now that same-sex divorce is a possibility, these couples may face uncertainty in that their prior legal marriage is now recognized in Wisconsin, but their divorce, since it was informal, is not. This may require couples to re-negotiate the divorce process according to Wisconsin’s marital property laws.

Similarly, since same-sex couples could not adopt in Wisconsin before 2014, many children were adopted by a single parent in order to circumvent these restrictions. When considering child support and child custody, this places same-sex couples in a distinctive situation, since one parent may be in a better position to secure parental rights and child support. Courts must now navigate these issues in a way that is fair to all those involved, recognizing the prior limitations imposed on same-sex couples.

Discuss a Same-Sex Divorce with a Milwaukee Lawyer

Over the coming years, same-sex divorces and related child custody matters are likely to raise novel issues for courts throughout Wisconsin. In order to ensure that their rights are fully protected, and that these issues are carefully evaluated, it is imperative that same-sex couples seek skilled legal representation for any family law disputes that may arise. Milwaukee same-sex divorce attorney Terese J. Singer can help you navigate the complexities of dissolving a marriage. She also represents people in Port Washington, Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other communities throughout Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha Counties. Contact our office at (414) 271-6400 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.