Appraisal of Assets in a Divorce in Wisconsin

There are often disagreements in a divorce about the value of certain assets.  Most commonly, this involves real estate and personal property.  However, the value of a pension or a business also may be at issue.  Although the below information may also be relevant in other states, this article specifically applies to divorces in Wisconsin.

If the parties do not agree on a value, the only option is to have the asset appraised.  If there is a dispute, the court must have a reliable source for a value.  The court will not consider the opinions of either party because there is no real basis for their opinion.  The only way to have a reliable value is to have an expert conduct an appraisal.  Usually, the parties agree on an appraiser or the court will appoint one.  The parties then usually share in the cost.  It is always preferable to have a mutually agreed upon appraiser or a court appointed one so a situation does not arise where there are “dueling appraisers”.  This saves everyone time and money.

For real estate, there are many reputable appraisers around and each judge always has a few that he/she prefers.  As long as they are a licensed appraiser, the court will usually accept them as an expert.  Once the appraised value is determine by a neutral expert, it is very difficult to contest that value except if there is an obvious error.  If you want to object to the value, you would have to hire your own expert to testify.  This is very rare and most real estate appraisers are at least in the ballpark in terms of value.

Appraising personal property is tricky.  It is very difficult to accurately determine the fair market value of things like TV’s, furniture, etc.  Of course, the value of those items is what someone is willing to pay for them such as in a rummage sale or on Craig’s List.  Even if you only recently purchased an item, it loses resale value almost immediately.  It is also virtually impossible to itemize every single thing in a home.  There are always items that are missed or overlooked.  Appraisers do not go pawing through boxes or drawers.  There are also very few individuals who conduct these appraisals because they are time consuming and difficult.   Attorneys usually encourage their clients to resolve this issue.  However, if you absolutely can’t, an appraisal is necessary.  Most people are not happy with the results but it is the best we can do under the circumstances.

Specialized items of personal property are often appraised separately.  These items included guns, jewelry, antiques, artwork and unusual equipment or artifacts.  An appraiser with specific experience with these items is necessary.  Depending on the item and where you reside, it is often difficult to find someone and sometimes it is required to look outside of your area or even your state.  You would then need to pay for that person to come to you or ship/transport the items to that person at their location.  This becomes very time consuming and costly.

If you have a pension, this may also need to be valued.  Pensions are defined benefit plans which provide a monthly benefit to you when you retire.  Pensions often vary greatly and have different rules, policies and procedures.  An actuary or accountant can calculate the present value of that pension.  However, the calculation is based on your life expectancy and an estimated length of time that you will collect that pension.  You may live much less or much longer than your life expectancy pursuant to current actuarial tables.  Therefore, a pension evaluation is basically an educated guess. However, sometimes it is necessary if a person wants to buy out the other spouse’s share of the pension or offset it against another asset, such as a marital residence.

Lastly, a business can be appraised or valued as well.  There are many different ways to do so and an expert is required to conduct this appraisal or value as well.  For more information about a business valuation, see our blog post on this topic:  How Is a Business Valued in a Wisconsin Divorce Case.

To discuss your assets in your divorce and how they may be valued or appraised, please contact us at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website for more information on property division.

Can I Travel With My Child Out Of State in a Divorce?

If you are fortunate to be able to take your child on a vacation during a divorce, do you need permission from the other parent? What about after the divorce? The short answer is that, in Wisconsin, you can take your child out of state on vacation without permission from the other parent.  There is a common misconception that you need permission from the other parent for a vacation.

However, if by doing so, the other parent will not have his or her scheduled placement, that is a different situation.  Most of the time, there will be a court order which allows at least a week or two of vacation.  If there is a court order, providing that you give notice, you are allowed to take vacation regardless if the other parent agrees or not.  However, sometimes during the pendency of the divorce, there may not be a temporary order which allows a vacation.  If there is no court order, you would either need permission from the other parent to forego their regular placement or you would need to take your vacation over your own placement periods.

You should make sure there is a vacation provision in your final judgment of divorce.  As long as there is a court order, the other parent does not have the right to restrict or veto your vacation.  The only condition would be that they should know where their child(ren) are going to be and have contact information in case of an emergency.

The only exception to the above is if you are traveling out of the country.  Federal law mandates that either both parents must be present or, if only one parent is present, written consent is necessary from the other parent or from the court. If the other parent refuses to cooperate and give permission, you can file a motion with the court requesting that the court enter an order allowing the travel.

I sometimes have clients who are the non-traveling parent and want to withhold consent for whatever reason.  I tell them to keep in mind that they are only hurting the child(ren) by denying them the opportunity for a vacation.  A few missed days of placement is well worth the benefit to the child.  And, it may benefit you in the future if you want to take your own vacation.

-Teri M Nelson

3 Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer Before You Hire Them

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and painful process. It’s made even worse by the fact that most people aren’t emotionally or financially ready to handle what’s ahead – even if they are the ones filing for divorce from their spouse. Nonetheless, finding the right divorce attorney is an absolutely critical decision, and one you don’t want to put off any longer than you have to.

With the right divorce lawyer on your side, you can stand a good chance of achieving a fair resolution and protecting that which you are legally entitled to. With the wrong divorce lawyer, however, you could find yourself in the midst of a long struggle that leaves you dealing with unintended consequences for the rest of your life.

Because this is such an enormous decision, it’s important that you do the right kinds of research. Here are three questions to ask a divorce lawyer before you hire them:

How many clients have you represented as a divorce lawyer in the past?

Although experience isn’t everything, it’s important for your divorce lawyer to have a sense of the way things work, and several past cases to draw lessons and insights from. Additionally, having a divorce lawyer with lots of experience allows you to take a closer look at their previous track record and see what they’ve been able to achieve for other clients in the past.

There isn’t any set amount of experience that’s perfect for a divorce lawyer, but be careful working with anyone who hasn’t been practicing for at least a few years or more. Given that the outcome of the proceedings will affect you, your finances, and your family for a very long time, you probably don’t want to entrust the job to someone without a little history behind them.

Who is your perfect client?

Because divorce is such a personal and multifaceted process, there are divorce attorneys who specialize in different types of cases, situations, and even clients. And so, the chances are very good that you could find a divorce lawyer in your area who has helped lots of other people who were in a situation similar to yours in the past.

Ask about your divorce lawyer’s perfect client, because the answer will tell you what sort of situations they are most familiar with – and the ones where they are most likely to get the results you are hoping for.  Also, ask your attorney how you can help and what types of things you can do to assist in the process.  You should be able to have input and control into your own case.  This will save you attorneys fees and give you greater satisfaction with the end result.  Your attorney should welcome your assistance and your input.  After all, it is your life and you have to live with the results.

How will you handle my case?

Depending on the reputation, schedule, and experience of your divorce lawyer, he or she may maintain a very small staff with a couple of executive assistants, or a very large one with several junior attorneys in the office. Neither of those is necessarily better, but it is good to find out from the outset how much of your case will be handled personally by your divorce lawyer, and how much will be assigned to other members of the team.

You should ask your attorney how they will communicate with you, what you should expect in terms of procedure and how things work in general.  You should also ask how quickly your attorney can respond to your questions and/or what happens if they are in court or you can’t get in touch with them.  Communication is key and you need to know up front how this will be handled.

Lastly, you should find out if your attorney will work cooperatively with the other party or his or her attorney or if they plan on litigating from the beginning.  You should decide the answer to this question – not your attorney.  Everyone has different expectations in their divorce and how they want their case to be handled.  Your attorney is working for you and in your best interest.  Sometimes what you want is not necessarily in your best interests, however, and you should feel comfortable listening to your attorney’s advice on this.

Even the most amicable divorces are rarely easy, from a legal standpoint or an emotional one. For that reason, you need to have the right divorce lawyer on your side.

If you have questions about the divorce process, or just want to meet with a divorce lawyer call us at 414-258-1644 to set up a free initial consultation today.  You can also visit our website for more information.

Can I Remove My Spouse From Insurance Before a Divorce?

When you file for divorce, you want to begin the process of separation as much as possible.  You open your own bank accounts, cancel joint credit cards, maybe even move out.  A question that often comes up is whether you can remove your spouse from insurance policies before or during a divorce.

The answer is usually no.  There are many types of insurance policies that people own: health, life, auto, homeowners.  In Wisconsin, the court would typically enter an order that all insurance policies, and beneficiaries, remain in effect during the pendency of a divorce.  This is hard to swallow for some people.  However, you also need to consider that until the final judgment is entered, you are technically still married.  And, as a married person, you still carry some responsibility and liability for your spouse.  It is actually in your best interest to maintain insurance up until the date of your final divorce.

For example, if your spouse becomes ill, you are still liable for medical bills as a spouse.  Even though the divorce court might not order that you are responsible for bills incurred after the date of the filing, creditors are not bound by family court orders.  They technically could seek reimbursement from a spouse.  Therefore, having health insurance in place is for your maximum protection for these types of debts.

Or, if your spouse is in a car accident for which they are at fault, you are certainly not liable for their actions.  However, marital assets such as income, bank accounts or your home could be subject to collection actions.  Having automobile insurance in place also reduces your risk in this situation.

Life insurance is the most difficult to justify – after all, if something happens to you, you certainly don’t want your soon-to-be-ex spouse to benefit.  If you have children, though, it will be to your children’s benefit as well.  And, if you have a long-term marriage, life insurance makes sense if you will have a maintenance (alimony) obligation.  In other situations, however, the court may consider releasing you from your obligation to maintain life insurance for your spouse.

You can ask the court to order the other spouse to pay for or contribute to the cost of these insurance policies if appropriate.  However, as indicated, it is really to your own benefit in most cases to maintain insurance for yourself and your spouse even during the pendency of a divorce.

Once a divorce is final, all obligations to carry insurance for your spouse cease.  They may have the right to continue on your health insurance under COBRA at their own cost.  They will be responsible for their own auto and life insurance.  If you have minor children, however, you will most likely be ordered to maintain your life insurance and name them as beneficiaries.

To further discuss issues related to a divorce or legal separation, please contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC at 414-258-1644 or visit our website for more information.

Discussing Your Divorce With Others

A recent Dear Abby column caught my attention (2nd letter):

DEAR ABBY: Please pass along this suggestion to your readers: If you’re separated or getting a divorce, use discretion if you’re tempted to talk about it.  The more you bad-mouth the person you are divorcing, the more people will reject you. It may not seem fair, but it’s true. People will “forget” that you never complained before and say, “I didn’t know she was so vindictive. No wonder he left!”  You will do yourself additional damage by ranting to co-workers. You’re paid to work, not talk. Your co-workers are paid to work, not listen.

. . .

Your pain will linger for months, but the patience of your friends and co-workers will fade. My co-worker managed to bore all of us. She quit therapy to spend the money redecorating her home to “erase him from her life.” Not only did she lose all sympathy in that shortsighted, shallow act, she also lost precious time she should have spent healing and becoming strong and independent.

–TIRED OF LISTENING IN MARYLAND

So, how are you supposed to behave when faced with a divorce?  Are you supposed to discuss your divorce with others?  Of course!  Sometimes, you just need to talk about it.  Sometimes, you are so angry, your feelings spill out.  That is understandable but “Tired” does have a point.

The very first, and most important, thing to remember is to not talk about your feelings or express your anger to or in front of your kids!  I cannot stress enough how much damage you can do to your children by engaging in this type of behavior.  People think that children, especially older children, “have the right to know” what is going on.  Or, they talk to their children instead of friends or family because they are the closest to the situation.  Even if kids ask, they do not need to know the details of your divorce.  They are not mature enough to handle that kind of information, even if you think they are.

I think the point of the Dear Abby letter is not that you shouldn’t talk to your friends or family but that you should be careful of what and how much you share.  If you are having trouble dealing with the situation or of letting go of your anger, you should seek counseling or a support group to help you deal with your divorce.  While friends and family are a good source to “vent to” once in a while, they are not trained professionals and cannot help you move forward with your life.

You should also not share with strangers or in your workplace.  Let’s face it, they really don’t want to know all the gory details.  This creates an uncomfortable situation for them and you may regret it down the road.  Do you really want casual or business acquaintances knowing the intimate details of your life?  Once you calm down, you will realize probably not and will regret the details you have shared.

I have heard stories over the years – people who call their spouse’s boss to share “what they did”.  Or, even worse, telling teachers or daycare professionals the details of the break-up.  You might think that you are trying to get people on your side which will generate sympathy for you but what you are really doing is making everyone uncomfortable and creating possible unforeseen circumstances.  You could, for example, cause your spouse to lose their job which will hurt you and your children in the long run when there is no income to pay support.  Or, you could lose your daycare provider because they don’t want to be put in the middle of you and your spouse.  You could also have difficulty in a custody or placement dispute if you are seen putting your own needs above those of your children. I have seen all of these things happen.

Keep in mind that how you deal with your divorce will create long-term consequences for you and/or your children.  No one blames you for being upset or angry.  But, you do not need share the details of your divorce with everyone around you which could be damaging to you, your career, your relationships and your children.  Think before you speak and if you are having difficulty doing that, seek counseling or support from a professional.

Teri M Nelson

Are Divorce Records Public in Wisconsin?

Is a divorce part of the public record in Wisconsin?  Should it be?  After all, are your family issues really anyone else’s business?  I ran across an interesting article from a few years ago written by a California divorce attorney lamenting the fact that divorce records are public and found that I agreed with most of his points. (My Divorce is None of Your Business). The premise of the article is that marriage and family are private and protected in many other areas of the law and society – so should then be divorce.

In Wisconsin, the answer is yes, divorce records are public.  In fact, Wisconsin is one of the few states that give full public access to all court records online, including divorce (see CCAP).  The only exception is paternity or children’s court cases which are confidential.  Your court file is public record with the exception of financial statements, which are sealed.  All family court proceedings, again except paternity cases, are open to the public.

How does this affect you?  In reality, unless you have a really nosy neighbor with way too much time on their hands, people you know are not going to trek to the courthouse and peruse through your divorce file.  But, CCAP does cause all types of issues for the people of Wisconsin.  There has been much debate in Wisconsin about the level of access the public should have to these records.  There have been complaints about discrimination from prospective employers, landlords, etc.  The fact of it is, in Wisconsin, any contact you have had with the legal system is an open book for all to see.

The details of your divorce judgment are not necessarily listed on CCAP.  But, sometimes details peek through in the notes the clerks make in the system with regards to hearings and court findings.  This is dependent on the clerk and the judge.  Occasionally, the judges will seal or restrict what appears on CCAP but a party would need to petition the court for that and there would need to be a compelling reason (a public figure, safety issues, etc.).

As family lawyers, one issue that we have with CCAP is that your divorce filing appears almost instantly.  Therefore, if you don’t want your spouse to know you filed yet, you simply can’t file.  Sometimes, there are reasons to file but to wait to serve the papers.  Often when there is domestic violence, we want to initiate the divorce quickly to obtain a court date but don’t want to serve to allow our clients time to move out or put into place a safety plan.  However, with the advent of CCAP, we can no longer do that.  Pre-divorce planning is crucial in these situations and you should consult with your attorney regarding same.

Conversely, public court records can also be extremely helpful.  It is difficult now to hide bad behavior and conceal legal problems or debts.  Family lawyers can better protect our clients from undisclosed issues.  In virtually every case, we feel an obligation to search CCAP to discover potential issues or problems.  CCAP also allows us to keep track of and monitor our cases.  It is an extremely important tool and resource for those of us working in the legal system.

The bottom line is that divorce can be messy and in Wisconsin, at least, it is public.  Whatever your opinion might be about that, it is the reality that we must live with.

To discuss your case further with an experienced divorce attorney, contact us at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website for more information.

Do I Have to Pay My Husband Maintenance (Alimony) in Wisconsin?

Many women now out earn their husbands or they are the “breadwinners” and their spouse stays home to take care of the children.  This situation can cause problems in a divorce and women often feel that they should not have to pay their husbands maintenance or alimony simply based on gender.

Maintenance, or what used to be called alimony, is ordered by the Court based on certain factors in the Wisconsin Statutes.   There is no definitive test or guidelines in Wisconsin for when and how much maintenance should be ordered. The decision to award maintenance to one party is a discretionary decision of the Court. In other words, the Court has a lot of leeway when deciding the issue of maintenance. The Court must consider a list of factors stated in the Wisconsin Statutes and any other factors that the Court deems relevant.

The Wisconsin statutes are “blind” as to gender.  It does not matter whether you are the husband or the wife.  If maintenance is deemed appropriate by the court, it will be awarded regardless of who has the higher income.  Generally, if it is a long term marriage and you (the Wife) have a significantly higher income than your husband, the court will most likely order you to pay maintenance.

The court will look at factors such as earnings history and earning capacity.  If your husband simply refuses to work or refuses to work at his full capacity, the court can order that a higher income be imputed to him for purposes of calculating maintenance.  However, if the role reversal in your marriage was based upon a mutual decision or has a long-standing history in your marriage, then maintenance would most likely be ordered.  In other words, the court will look at the reasons why there is an inequity in the income.

At the time of the divorce, both parties are expected to work and work to their full earning capacity.  The only exception is if someone is unable to work due to health or other legitimate reasons.  In those cases, the court will look to see what the party can do or what alternative sources of income may be available to them such as social security or disability payments.   Ultimately, however, if maintenance is requested by your husband, the court will follow the statutes in awarding maintenance, regardless of gender.

To discuss maintenance in your divorce, contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation at 414-258-1644 or visit our website for more information.

5 Signs You Need a New Divorce Lawyer

It’s unfortunate, but not every divorce lawyer is a great one, and there are attorneys out there who are more interested in collecting an hourly fee than they are in properly representing your interests while you legally separate from your spouse. And even beyond that, not every good divorce attorney is a great match for a particular client or situation for reasons that have to do with their background, fees, personality, or other details.

The bottom line is that sometimes you need to divorce yourself from a lawyer or law firm before you can get on with the business of divorcing from your spouse. Here are five signs you need to find a new divorce lawyer:

1. Your divorce lawyer doesn’t have enough experience. Going through a divorce could turn out to be the most significant legal and financial process you ever undertake, and one that will likely affect every day for the rest of your life. With that in mind, you want someone with years of experience in divorce law representing you, not a person who is still making a name for themselves.

2. Your divorce lawyer doesn’t ask many questions. No two divorce situations are identical, and your priorities (like keeping certain assets or maintaining child custody and placement) might be different from the ones other people had in the past. Because of that, it’s important to have a divorce lawyer that asks a lot of questions, so they can properly represent you. If they don’t, it’s time to move on.

3. Your divorce lawyer can’t remember you or your case.  Do you feel like you are re-inventing the wheel every time you talk to your divorce lawyer?  Do they forget your name or the major facts of your case (like whether you even have children)?  While your lawyer can’t be expected to remember every detail at all times, they should at least retain the basic facts of your case.  Even better, they remember most of the facts of your case.  If they don’t, they either have too many cases or a terrible memory or don’t care.  Either way, that is not good for you or your case.

4. You rarely see or hear from your divorce lawyer. Depending on the size of the law firm handling your divorce, you may spend a lot of time talking to junior attorneys, paralegals, and office assistants. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also important that you have access to your divorce lawyer when you need to meet with him or her. If they can’t ever make time to speak with you, then you might consider taking your case elsewhere.

5. Your divorce lawyer stirs up emotional arguments. A good divorce lawyer will help you stay calm and measured throughout the legal process. If you find that your attorney regularly speaks in a way that makes you feel heated, then it might not be a good match, since overly emotional thinking during a divorce often leads to a longer negotiating time frame… not to mention decisions that you might regret later.

Your divorce is too important to trust to the wrong legal team, so if you spot one of these warning signs, consider looking elsewhere for representation.

If you need a great divorce lawyer to help protect your interests, why not call us at 414-258-1644 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys today?  For more information, also see our website.

Gray Divorce – What Is It and Why Is It Making Headlines?

I ran across several articles recently discussing “gray divorces”.  Apparently, the Wall Street Journal published a recent article discussing the increasing rate of divorces among couples 50+: “Though overall national divorce rates have declined since spiking in the 1980s, ‘gray divorce’ has risen to its highest level on record….In 1990, only one in 10 people who got divorced was 50 or older; by 2009, the number was roughly one in four. More than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2009,” the paper reported.  (See article here).

The article also cites a 2004 national survey conducted by AARP which found that women are the ones initiating most of these breakups. Among divorces by people ages 40-69, the survey found that women reported seeking the split 66% of the time.  The article speculates that this trend reflect the boomer generation’s desire for self-fulfillment.   “With the children out of the house and the realization one may have twenty five or more years of life, women often decide they want to strike out on their own and find greater personal satisfaction. “

While this may all be true, the reasons anyone seeks a divorce, including older people, are complicated and numerous.  Also, we find that women are in the majority of those filing for divorce, regardless of age and regardless of the reasons.  Even if the men are the instigators of the divorce, through infidelity or other issues, women tend to be the filing party because they are concerned about protecting the children, assets, or making sure they have enough to live on.  Therefore, it is not so easy to pinpoint the causes of divorce in any type of situation.

With that said, we do find that the largest group of people seeking divorce tend to be those married twenty (20) years or more.   Because the marriage is longer, this opens the door to many issues such as maintenance (alimony), more assets, more debts, etc.  These divorces tend to be among the most complicated.  If you are seeking a divorce, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine what issues you may face and the potential outcomes to assist you in making this very important decision.

To discuss a potential divorce and what it may mean for you, call our office at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website for more information.

Teri M Nelson

What is the Difference Between Sole Legal Custody and Joint Legal Custody of My Children?

In Wisconsin, legal custody means the ability or authority to make all major decisions making concerning a minor child.  For example, the consent to marry, consent to enter military service, consent to obtain a motor vehicle operator’s license, authorization for non-emergency health care and choice of school and religion).  The emphasis is on “major” and parties usually face these types of decisions over where the children will attend school or daycare and major medical decisions such as medication and elective surgery.

The presumption in Wisconsin is for joint legal custody.  This means most of the time, the court will order joint custody over the minor children.  If the parties have joint legal custody of a child, both parties must jointly agree on all major decisions.   However, with respect to the right to make routine daily decisions regarding the child’s care, the party who has physical placement of the child at the time the decision is to be made.

Parents often argue or disagree about such things as haircuts, clothing, whether to give children over-the-counter medications, bed times, homework, non-physical discipline or punishments, etc.  Unfortunately, these are not considered to be major decisions and, therefore, there is no easy way to resolve those types of disputes.  Each parent has the right to make decisions regarding those “minor” issues when the children are in his or her placement.

If a party is awarded sole (full) legal custody of a minor child, they do not have to obtain permission from the other parent.  However, it is not very common for a party to be awarded sole custody.  The only time this occurs is if a parent is unwilling or unable to performing parental duties, if there is a compelling reason not to award joint custody or if the parties are unable to cooperate in the future.  Common examples of some reasons a court would order sole custody include drug or alcohol addiction, incarceration, abuse of the child or other parent, mental illness or simply being absent such as parents who are uninvolved or live out of the state.

To discuss your case and your custody questions, contact us at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free initial office consultation or visit our website at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC for more information.

Why All Divorce Lawyers Aren’t the Same… and Why it Matters to You

If you are just starting the process of a divorce, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated. Your first impulse might be to find a great divorce lawyer with reasonable fees who can help you through the process and just get started right away.

That’s understandable, but it can also lead to big problems later.

Navigating the legal framework of a divorce is a lot more complicated than filling out forms, and there are many different ways to approach the process. Even the best divorce lawyers can have very different strategies and methods. More than that, working with one or the other can entail big differences in costs, stress, and even damage to your future relationships with your ex-spouse and children.

To put it another way, not all divorce lawyers are the same, and the differences are important to understand. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Divorce attorneys can have very different strategies

Some divorce lawyers are great at protecting assets, while others are experts in securing things like child custody and placement. To find the right match for your situation, consider what your biggest priorities are, and then try to find divorce attorneys who have matching experience. Once you meet with them, get a sense of what their legal strategy is like, and how that might affect your divorce proceedings.

It’s important to agree with your divorce lawyer’s negotiation style

Although there will undoubtedly be attorneys acting as middlemen, your divorce lawyer is essentially helping you to negotiate against your former spouse. That can be an emotionally draining process, and one that leads to poor decisions if it isn’t handled properly. For that reason, it’s important that your divorce lawyer have a negotiation style (no matter how aggressive or consolatory) that you agree with and support.

You may want a divorce lawyer with trial experience

Once things go to a courtroom, the entire dynamic of a divorce proceeding can change, and you’ll want a divorce attorney who’s comfortable in that environment. A divorce lawyer with trial experience will know how to manage emotions, make a favorable impression of the judge, and generally ensure that your best case is being put forward.

You don’t want to have a personality conflict with your divorce lawyer

You don’t have to like your divorce lawyer, but it is a good idea to choose one who doesn’t have a personality that clashes with your own, or one who doesn’t seem sympathetic to your situation. Whatever the outcome of your divorce proceedings are, it’s likely that they’ll continue to affect you for a very long time to come, so don’t partner up with a divorce attorney who doesn’t seem like a good match for your personality.

New clients are often surprised at the big differences that can exist between different divorce lawyers and the types of cases they handle. It might seem like a lot to take in at a particularly difficult and stressful time, but finding the right attorney for you is the first step toward a fast, efficient, and favorable divorce proceeding.

Are you looking for a great divorce lawyer to represent you? Call our office at 414-258-1644 to arrange a consultation today.  For more information, see Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC.

When Is It Time To Look For a Divorce Lawyer?

Often, the need to find a good divorce lawyer is obvious: Your spouse has served you with papers, you’ve been legally separated for a while, or you just know in your heart that “it’s over.” In some situations, however, things might not be that clear. Perhaps you are concerned that your marriage might be ending, or are worried that your spouse might file for divorce in the future.

When that happens, how do you know when it’s time to look for a good divorce lawyer?

Although there might not be any one unmistakable sign, our advice would be to remember that earlier is almost always better. That is, the moment you think you might need a divorce lawyer, you should probably start discreetly looking for one.

Here are a few good reasons why:

A good divorce lawyer can help explain what you’re getting into

There is not only the legal process of filing for divorce itself, but also all of the steps that are bound to come after, including a review of your assets and financial position, custodial agreements, and negotiating with your spouse’s divorce attorney. By starting a bit earlier, you can make better long-term decisions that could turn out to be incredibly important for the rest of your life.

Finding a divorce lawyer early means you won’t have to rush to find one later

The last thing you want, if you suddenly find that you are being sued for divorce, is to have to find a divorce lawyer without having adequate time to find a lawyer you are comfortable with and ask the questions that matter to you most. As with the divorce itself, choosing a divorce lawyer isn’t a step to take lightly, so don’t procrastinate on your search if you think it might be necessary.

A good divorce lawyer can help you take steps to protect yourself

If you know, or even suspect, that a divorce is imminent, then now is the perfect time to take a look at your financial situation, living arrangements, and other details that could suddenly become very important during the divorce proceedings. There are numerous things you can do right now to protect your future (or your children’s futures) by planning ahead with your divorce attorney.

Your decision isn’t final until you file for divorce

Scheduling a meeting with a divorce attorney doesn’t necessarily mean you will ultimately have to file for divorce. It could be the case that you decide it’s not the right avenue for you, that you want to give your marriage more time, or that there are other issues to be resolved first. In any of those situations, having the facts beforehand and preparing yourself can turn out to be invaluable later – even if it’s just for your own peace of mind.

It’s understandable that lots of people don’t want to be in a rush to meet with a divorce attorney, especially if they aren’t sure about the future of their marriage. If you have reason to suspect you might need a divorce lawyer in the future, however, follow our advice and start making some preliminary plans today. If you do end up needing a good attorney, you’ll be very glad you thought ahead and got one working for you.

To schedule a free initial office consultation to discuss a possible divorce, please contact us at 414-258-1644 or visit our website for further information.