Wisconsin residents might be interested to hear that it is becoming more common for wives to be ordered to pay alimony to their ex-husbands in divorces. Husbands and wives do not necessarily have the stereotypical marriage arrangements that they used to have in the past. Traditionally, wives stayed at home while the men were the primary breadwinners. Now, however, wives may be the primary breadwinners, or both spouses may earn income equally.
A common question for Wisconsin residents who are divorcing is whether they can be held financially responsible for a former spouse's credit card debt. The answer may surprise some. Because Wisconsin is a community property state, a credit card company can pursue the cardholder's spouse for credit card debt even if the spouse is not a joint account holder. The spouse is presumed to be jointly liable for the debt unless he or she can prove otherwise.
Divorce attorneys in Wisconsin and around the nation are taking note of a recent court case in which the judge threw out a prenuptial agreement that a woman had signed prior to marrying her multimillionaire husband. Previously regarded as difficult to void, prenuptial agreements have become increasingly common, especially for people with high net worth or those entering second marriages. How enforceable are they in light of the recent court case?A prenuptial agreement is a legal document signed prior to marriage documenting the future spouses' understanding regarding which of their assets will become marital property and how property division will be handled in the event of divorce. There are several circumstances under which a court may refuse to enforce a prenuptial agreement. If one party undervalued or failed to disclose assets at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed, the court may refuse to enforce it on the grounds of fraud. Accordingly, full disclosure of all assets and liabilities is important to the future enforceability of the agreement.
Like many Wisconsin residents, you may view tax preparation as an unpleasant chore. But if you recently have divorced or are now going through divorce, you may find yourself facing new challenges this tax season. Things you previously took for granted, like your filing status and dependent deductions, may prove fertile grounds for confusion. Here are a few things you need to know when preparing your taxes after a divorce.One area of confusion may be the appropriate tax filing status to use. The relevant date is December 31. If you were still married on that date, you must file either as married filing jointly or married filing single. If your divorce was final by December 31, you may file as head of household, provided you meet some specific requirements relating to your living arrangements during the tax year, or as single. There may be tax advantages to filing as head of household, so ask your attorney or tax advisor if you meet the requirements.
For many couples in Wisconsin, the home is the largest asset in the marital estate. If a couple divorces and one spouse wants to keep the home after the divorce, an accurate valuation of the property becomes a crucial component of property division. If the home is valued too high, spouses keeping the homes will owe more equity to the other spouse than what would be paid if the home is valued accurately. If the homes are valued too low, the spouses who are vacating the home will not get all the equity to which they are entitled.There are three ways to value a home in the event of divorce. The first and most reliable method is to hire a licensed appraiser. This is the most expensive method. The cost of an appraisal may go up to several hundred dollars depending on the market. However, the value of an accurate appraisal easily justifies the additional cost.
Perhaps the two most common regrets of Wisconsin women going through divorce are not having been more involved with the family finances during their marriage and not having maintained control of their own money. Keeping a separate, secret bank account may be one way to take a more active role in one's finances and avoid regrets during divorce. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach, however.On the plus side, it can be empowering, both financially and emotionally, to have one's own source of funds. A separate account may alleviate some of the loss that a woman may feel about giving up her career and her financial independence to stay home and raise a family. An additional bonus of a separate account is having funds that a spouse cannot access or control, particularly if there is concern that he or she may clean out joint accounts and use underhanded tactics to run up divorce expenses.
The rise of social media in people's daily lives is giving estranged spouses just one more thing to argue about during a divorce proceedings. This is particularly true when children are involved. A mother may not appreciate her ex-husband posting pictures of their children on his online dating profile. A man may take offense to a woman creating a Facebook profile for their unborn child, complete with an ultrasound profile picture. Unless the child is being harmed, each parent generally may handle their child's social network presence however they deem appropriate. That's why it's important to address issues related to the children's online exposure as part of a child custody agreement.A blanket rule prohibiting either parent from sharing anything about the children on any social media site likely would be viewed as too restrictive. The reality is social media has become a convenient way to share information and photos of the kids with extended family members, especially those who live far away. But it is appropriate and prudent for a parent to seek some boundaries regarding what is shared about their children and with whom.
The month of January tends to see more people filing for divorce than any other time of the year. The timing may be the result of a personal resolution to make a fresh start in the new year. It could be based on practical considerations, such as tax filing status. Whatever the reason, a woman planning to file for divorce in 2013 is well-advised to take some year-end steps to ensure a smooth process.First, gather your financial documents. The end of the year is a great time to collect year-end bank, credit card and other financial statements. Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place to avoid the hassle of gathering them later. Be vigilant for discrepancies that could mean your spouse is hiding assets. Also keep a close eye on credit card statements for any suspicious-looking charges, like gifts your husband may be purchasing for another woman. Obtain a copy of your credit report. If it contains any misinformation, correct it. Good credit will be important to your financial future as a single woman.
A Wisconsin man returned home after an absence of many years to learn his wife had divorced him. She also sold the house they owned together even though he never signed papers allowing the sale. The case illustrates the importance of ensuring one's interests are represented in a family law proceeding.When the man's wife filed for divorce, she never personally served him with divorce papers. He had moved out of state and his wife served him by publication only. Then, when he did not appear in court, she was awarded divorce by default. The divorce court awarded the house to the wife, and she sold it with the help of a forged signature on the quit claim deed.
When a Wisconsin couple decide to divorce, most of the legal issues to be resolved will be governed by Wisconsin state law. But there also are federal income tax implications that should not be overlooked. Some advanced planning will be required to ensure that there are no surprises for either ex-spouse at tax time. The first area of concern relates to the deductibility of alimony payments versus child support payments. If a divorce decree designates a payment as alimony, it is deductible by the person making the payment and taxable to the recipient. With child support payments, however, this is not true. Another issue relates to exemptions for dependents. The parent with child custody for the majority of the year generally is entitled to the exemption but may waive it in favor of the noncustodial parent.