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Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik
505 King St. Suite 300 La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601
Initial Consultation 608-519-4788
Home / Practice Areas / Divorce

La Crosse Family Law and Divorce Attorneys Committed to Helping You Get Your Life Back on Track

Experienced divorce lawyers provide strong support during trying times

The decision to divorce is difficult and emotional and the legal process that follows can be challenging and emotional as well. Your lawyer should be capable of handling any issue that arises and possess the experience needed to do so with skill and good judgment. At Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik, Attorneys & Counselors at Law, our divorce and family law attorneys tackle these issues every day. We work with  individuals seeking a divorce, those with post-divorce issues and those individuals who have never been married, but need assistance with their paternity matter.  We serve family law clients in La Crosse as well as  outlying counties such as Trempealeau, Monroe, Vernon, Buffalo, Jackson and Richland..

We are strong advocates, providing you with sound and cost-effective solutions to the challenges that may be presented in all or some of the following areas:

  • Child custody: Custody is right to make the “decisions” and differs from physical placement.  If one party is awarded sole custody (often times due to domestic abuse issues) or both parties are awarded joint legal custody, that means that they are given the right to make the decisions on the major issues that will affect their child including some of the following:
    • Where the child will attend daycare and later school
    • What doctor or medical facility will provide health care for the child and the type of treatment
    • What the child’s religious commitment will be, if any

In the event a court awards joint legal custody to both parents in a child custody proceeding and they cannot agree on what is best for their child, the court also has the ability to give one party sole power to make specified decisions, while both parties retain equal rights and responsibilities for other decisions.

  • Child support: Child support is generally determined according to percentage standard guidelines based on income or earning capacity as well as the number of overnights (or the equivalent of overnights) each party has physical placement of the child.
  • Spousal support (Maintenance):  Spousal support is based on many factors including the length of the marriage, earning capacity, the contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other, etc.  and  courts have considerable discretion in awarding the same. Because of the latitude courts have in awarding child and spousal support, it is crucial to have an effective and skilled divorce attorney to argue your case.
  • Property division: Wisconsin courts begin with the presumption that all property should be divided equally, but there are many factors that can alter the presumption and lead to property being divided in a different manner as part of a property settlement or final order. Key issues during property division include determining the value or each asset and negotiating who gets what. At Hale Skemp, we have attorneys who work in nearly every area of the law that may affect your property issues such as real estate, taxation, and bankruptcy which helps us to tailor your property settlement in the most favorable manner possible.
  • Paternity: The same issues pertaining to Custody, Placement, and Child Support apply to those individuals who have never married, but have a child together.
  • Cohabitation: While Wisconsin does not recognize common law marriage, a party who cohabitates may still have equitable property rights based on the legal basis of unjust enrichment and other considerations
  • Domestic partnerships:  Although marriage in Wisconsin is defined as a union between one man and one woman, the state has established a Domestic Partnership registry. Registered partners have some of the same benefits as spouses.  Given the recent United States Supreme Court decision regarding DOMA, this is a potentially changing area of the law.

How do you file for divorce in Wisconsin?

A petition for divorce can be filed in Wisconsin as long as   one of the parties has been a resident of the state for not less than six months and a resident of the county in which the action is brought for not less than 30 days prior to the filing.

The process of obtaining a divorce or legal separation begins by filing a Petition or Joint Petition for Divorce with the proper court and properly serving copies of the pleadings. After filing, there are several key steps that may be necessary before a divorce is granted. These include:

  • A temporary hearing if needed to resolve issues related to children, support , monthly debt allocation  and other matters while the divorce is pending
  • Completion of a parenting class and parenting plan if the parties have children
  • Evaluations of major assets including real estate, personal property and business entities
  • Preparation of financial disclosure statements,  the Marital Settlement Agreement, ,the final Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and other necessary documents such as deeds, real estate transfer forms, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and other documents
  • Attendance at your final hearing

From start to finish, a divorce requires significant paperwork. The advice of a divorce lawyer is highly recommended, especially if you have children, own your own home, own your own business, or have retirement assets.  It is much cheaper to hire an attorney to have your case handled correctly from the beginning than to have an attorney try to fix what happened because a party handled their case on their own.

Our divorce attorneys provide a full range of family law services to help you address difficult issues

Divorcing parties are often able to avoid the litigation process and settle their divorce through a collaborative effort whereby the parties share the cost of experts in determining real estate and personal property values.  Divorcing couples may also work toward a settlement with the aid of a trained mediator or through negotiations between the parties and their respective attorneys.  Ideally, the parties can determine the terms of their divorce between themselves and their attorneys can make sure that the final agreement is properly written to reflect those terms.  At Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik, our attorneys can represent you in a collaborative effort, mediation, or provide aggressive litigation skills if an agreement cannot be reached and unresolved issues need to be decided by the court.

Contact a La Crosse divorce and paternity attorney today for a consultation

The attorneys at Hale, Skemp, Hanson, Skemp & Sleik help you navigate your way through divorce. We're located near the Mississippi River and not far from the Cass Street Bridge. Contact us online or call us at 608-519-4788.