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Milwaukee Family Law Blog

Parents prosecuted for lack of child support payments

For some Wisconsin parents, it's acceptable to go to great lengths to avoid having to pay child support. However, not all support-evading non-custodial parents think their choices through all the way. Some are able to avoid paying much by claiming they don't have the money, but they are then caught by authorities when they brag about money on social networking sites. One father was charged with a criminal count of avoiding child support payments when he was found to be boasting on his Facebook page about the amount of money he brought home from work.

The case was an especially charged one because the child whom the man was failing to support was three and a half years old and had leukemia. The father had paid a total of $189 to support the child - a payment that averaged out to be 14 cents per day of the child's life. The mother said the father only paid the minimal amount of support he did to avoid incarceration. The mother was left to pay for the boy's many medical procedures.

Tips for dividing a house during a divorce

Wisconsin couples who are going through divorce may find it difficult to get through the property division phase. In divorce cases involving individuals of high net worth, the splitting of assets may be more complex. When marriages end and the divorcing couples own homes together, there is the potential for difficulty surrounding their divisions.

In some cases, it is advisable to sell the home and divide the profits between both parties. Usually, though, one person ends up keeping the house and buying out the other spouse. This may seem relatively simple and straightforward, but it comes with its own set of risks.

Basketball player seeks full custody

Wisconsin fans of basketball may be surprised to hear that Paul George, an all-star player for the Indiana Pacers, is seeking full custody of his daughter, a two-month-old girl. The petition released by his lawyers is contingent on George being proven to be the father in a second paternity test. An initial pre-birth test confirmed that there was a 99.9 percent chance that George is the father, but he requested that another test be performed.

If George is found to be the father of the child, he has said he will "embrace" his role as a father. George's lawyers have said in the child custody petition that George has the means to care for the child and is the most qualified parent to make day-to-day decisions in the child's life. It says that the child's mother is not qualified to raise the child because she is unemployed and has not sought employment since the child was born. George's petition also asks that, if his plea for sole custody is denied, that the mother be given less than Florida law recommends in terms of child support.

Former team owner wins divorce fee fight

Wisconsin fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers may be familiar with Frank McCourt, who sold the team for $2 billion in 2012. McCourt also divorced his wife of nearly 30 years earlier that year. As part of the divorce agreement, Jamie McCourt was awarded a total of $131 million tax-free, as well as ownership of several of the luxury homes the couple had owned together. In their divorce settlement, though, the McCourts included a clause providing that if either party chose to challenge the agreement at a later date, he or she would be responsible for paying the other's legal fees.

Jamie McCourt later came to believe that Frank had misrepresented the value of the Dodgers in the asset division phase of the divorce, and thus that she was entitled to a greater settlement. Her lawyers took this claim to court, and it was rejected. Pursuant to the agreement, she was ordered to pay Frank's $1.9 million in court costs. In an effort to get out of the agreement, Jamie's lawyers argued that $1.9 million was excessive.

Pet custody changing the landscape of divorce settlements

Residents of Wisconsin who follow celebrity news may have heard about the divorce proceedings of actress Melanie Griffith and her former spouse, Antonio Banderas. One dispute the couple seemed to be having was over the custody of the family pets. This is a part of a growing trend of divorce disputes over pets, and courts across the country are having a hard time transitioning to accommodate them.

Different judges have been handling the disputes in different ways. Some judges, for example, can relate to the bond that can be shared between a canine and its owner, and in these instances, they sometimes allow the divorcees to approach the case more similarly to that of child custody. The court determines who was primarily responsible for the care of the animal. Other less empathetic judges might treat the case as though the animals are simply property. They ask the divorcees how much they would pay to keep the animal, and the highest bidder wins.

Michael Moore files to end 23-year marriage

Wisconsin residents may be familiar with the controversial filmmaker Michael Moore, whose documentaries -- including 'Bowling for Columbine" and 'Capitalism: A Love Story" -- made him millions and earned him an Academy Award, but the Michigan resident is now making headlines of a different sort. Moore filed for divorce in June 2013, and he has since become embroiled in a bitter dispute with his wife of 23 years.

The couple own significant assets, including real estate in both Michigan and New York, but it is a lavish home on the banks Torch Lake that is the focus of much of the couple's vitriol. Moore made a name for himself by pointing out the hypocrisy of the rich and powerful, but images of the opulent vacation home led to a flurry of media articles that caused the filmmaker a great deal of embarrassment. Moore claims that the property was entirely his wife's project, and he says that massive cost overruns have strained his finances and damaged his reputation.

Berry's child support settlement approved

Milwaukee viewers may remember seeing Halle Berry and her boyfriend Gabriel Aubry smiling together at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2009. However, Berry may not be showcasing her iconic smile after a judge's order for her to pay thousands of dollars in monthly child support, along with sizable back payments for Aubry's legal fees and retroactive child support.

The Oscar-winning actor and model reached a settlement agreement regarding child support. The Los Angeles Superior Court judge approved the settlement agreement on May 30. Though the two were embroiled in a custody dispute in 2012 that resulted in the judge blocking Berry from moving her daughter to France with her, the settlement only regarded child support and not custody.

Couples begin to understand divorce settlements

A recent financial report published on June 3 could help Wisconsin residents undergoing a divorce settlement. This professional uses a story of a couple who has been married 40 years before splitting up as an example.

The wife had some questions concerning property division, retirement funds, home splitting and tax obligations. The advisor said most states allow couples to keep the assets they acquired before marriage. This statement pertained primarily to real estate. However, the financial consultant also gave both parties information about how to determine what percentage of corporate accounts and IRAs will go to each other. The article addressing this issue indicated that this longtime couple seeking to end their marriage probably would obtain a qualified domestic relations order. The QDRO will state guidelines concerning retirement funds, and in some cases, the ex-partners may be able to avoid early withdrawal fees. However, the money expert said this does not pertain to IRAs but to certain other retirement funds.

Wisconsin study shows shift to joint custody

One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce is often deciding which parent is to have custody of the children. Asset division is often a major issue in a divorce, but money can be earned back or managed without. However, child custody is priceless. For a long time, courts heavily favored sole custody arrangements, but research shows that this may no longer be the case.

A new study conducted by individuals from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that joint custody is now becoming the norm. By examining Wisconsin Court Records regarding divorce cases that occurred between 1986 and 1994 in which the divorcing individuals had minor children, researchers discovered that the number of mothers in custody cases who were given sole custody fell from 80 percent to 74 percent during that period.

Marriage rates decline in Wisconsin, along with divorce rates

Marriage is a wonderful thing that brings happiness to all parties involved, but like many things, it isn’t necessarily built to last. We’d all like to think that marriage is forever, but recent data indicates that this is far from the truth. Not only have marriage rates been declining in the last 30 years, the divorce rate in the country sits at 3.6 divorces per 1,000 people. Many factors have contributed to this, but dual-income couples appear to be the largest factors.

It seems that with an increase in wage-earners comes less marriages, possibly because people are focusing on their careers instead of on maintaining a relationship. This seems to be a result of divorce consideration, with neither party wanting to be financially dependent should the marriage end in a divorce. Age also appears to play a part, as older couples tend not to get divorced.

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