What is a Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin?
Racine Divorce Lawyer Christopher Glinski has drafted dozens of marital settlement agreements in Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Marital Settlement Agreements in Wisconsin are written agreements between a husband and wife that resolve all issues regarding child custody and placement, division of marital property, and division of marital debts. The divorce process in Wisconsin requires that both parties wait at least 120 days to get divorced. In most cases, at the end of the 120-day period the parties reach a marital settlement agreement. The following issues must be addressed:
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Maintenance (spousal support)
In a marital settlement agreement in Wisconsin, maintenance can either be paid from one party to the other or waived. If maintenance is to be paid, the marital settlement agreement must state who will be paying the maintenance, who will be receiving the maintenance, the amount of the maintenance that will be paid per month, and the length of time (in months) that maintenance will be paid. If maintenance is not going to be paid from one spouse to another, then it is “waived” by both parties.
Racine Divorce Lawyer Expert Tip: Waiver of maintenance is permanent. This means that if you waive maintenance and your ex-spouse wins the lottery the day after the divorce is finalized, you cannot go back to court and request maintenance. Always consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before waiving maintenance.
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Debts and Liabilities
A Wisconsin marital settlement agreement must address how all marital debts will be divided. Generally, marital debts include any and all debts incurred during the marriage. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and you should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer if you have significant debts.
Racine Divorce Lawyer Expert Tip: Creditors and lenders are not bound by your marital settlement agreement. Accordingly, if your name is on a mortgage or other loan, the lender or creditor can come after you for payment of the loan even if the marital settlement agreement requires your spouse to pay the loan back.
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Division of Marital Property
A marital settlement agreement in Wisconsin must state how all marital property is going to be divided. This includes household items, automobiles, mutual funds, and retirement accounts.
Racine Divorce Lawyer Expert Tip: Generally, the parties’ most valuable asset is their retirement account. To divide a retirement account, you must obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Division of Real Property
A marital settlement agreement in Wisconsin must state how all real property will be divided. Real property includes the marital residence and any other property owned by the parties. The party who wants to keep the marital residence or any other property will often be required to refinance the residence into his or her own name within 90 or 180 days of the divorce. If the party who wants to keep the marital residence or any other property is unable to refinance the property into his or her own name within 90 or 180 day of the divorce, that party must put the property up for sale and the parties will split any proceeds or liability for the sale.
Racine Divorce Lawyer Expert Tip: In most cases, any equity in the marital residence should be divided 50/50. This means that the party who wants to keep the marital residence owes the other party 50% of the equity in the marital residence. An appraisal is the most accurate method for obtaining the current fair market value of the marital residence.
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Legal Name Restoration
In a Wisconsin marital settlement agreement, the wife may choose to either resume using her maiden name or continue using her married name. If the wife chooses to resume using her maiden name she will need to obtain a new social security card and drivers license after the divorce is finalized.
Marital Settlement Agreement in Wisconsin: Child Custody and Placement
A marital settlement agreement in Wisconsin must address all child custody and placement issues if the parties have a child or children under the age of 18. Custody refers to decision making for the child. These decisions include where the child will attend school, what religion, if any, the child will practice, and whether the child will be allowed to obtain a drivers license. Placement refers to where the child or children will be living and with whom the child will be spending time. In order for the court to approve a Wisconsin marital settlement agreement, both parties must agree that the child custody and placement provisions are in the best interest of the child or children. The marital settlement agreement must also state which party will claim the child or children for tax purposes each year, which party will pay for variable expenses, and whether either party will pay child support.
Racine Divorce Lawyer Expert Tip: Joint custody is almost always awarded unless one party is unfit to make decisions for the child because of mental health issues or incarceration.
For more information, see:
- 5 things you should know about Wisconsin divorce
- Wisconsin divorce questions answered
- Top 3 questions about Wisconsin child support
Call Racine and Kenosha Divorce Lawyer Christopher Glinski for a free consultation at (262) 632-1555.