Milwaukee, Wisconsin Family Law Blog

Study examines marital happiness after newlywed years

Many people believe that a decline in marital happiness and satisfaction is almost inevitable. Conventional wisdom tells people that newlyweds start off their marriages with a honeymoon period that ends after some time, leading to greater conflict and sometimes, divorce. When people do decide to divorce, financial issues are often at the forefront. People struggle over asset division, spousal support and other economic issues. Therefore, many people think that couples with lower incomes may be more likely to be unhappy in their marriages.

A team of researchers at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia set out to examine marital satisfaction and happiness over time and how it relates to socioeconomic status. They surveyed 431 couples between 2009 and 2014. All of the couples lived in a lower-income area although their incomes varied. They were also newlyweds when the project began in 2009. The participants were asked to answer an eight-question survey five times during the duration of the project, and the researchers assessed how their answers changed over time.

Study explores money issues when older people divorce

 According to a recently published study, there is a growing trend of divorce among those over fifty. The trend, known as “gray divorce,” involves people over 50 years old. In Wisconsin, and nationwide, those in this demographic face unique financial challenges when they end their marriages.

A generation ago, gray divorces were comparatively rare. In 1990, only 10% of divorces occurred among people over 50. As of 2010, that percentage had risen to more than twice that. Researchers have found that leaving a spouse at this stage of life may create significant financial difficulties. The lack of time to recoup monetary losses through work and savings after a later in life divorce can sometimes limits older adults' ability to rebuild retirement funds divided in a divorce. Older adults might also encounter difficulty re-entering the workforce. Expenses for young adult children in college frequently added to their financial strain as well.

Prenuptial agreements becoming more popular among millennials

Getting engaged is an exciting life moment. It’s normal for that excitement to turn to stress when it comes to planning your wedding, writing your vows and preparing for life as a married couple. These are all significant for the big day and beyond, but there is another important item you don’t want to overlook. Have you considered a prenuptial agreement?

Nowadays, more couples are creating prenups. The reason that prenuptial agreements are growing in popularity is because millennials are getting married later in life than previous generations. When they tie the knot, they tend to have established careers, properties or businesses. There is more at stake for individuals in this situation than someone who is just starting out. If a divorce should happen, you will want to protect the assets you acquired before marriage.

3 things that can complicate property division in divorce

Divorce is rarely easy. However, when a couple shares a complex portfolio of valuable assets, things can get complicated fast. Whether everyone involved is up front about their finances or some things are hidden away, special care must be taken to ensure a fair result.

Protecting your assets in a community property state

They say that a large number of people across the country, including many here in Wisconsin, either marry later in life or remarry. In many cases, this means that each party could already have significant assets once the wedding day arrives.

If you empathize with this position, then you understand the need to protect those assets. Perhaps you didn’t think you would need a prenuptial agreement. After all, you didn’t think your relationship would end in divorce, but now that you face that process, you could find yourself anxious about what you will be left with when the deed is done.

Exploring prenuptial agreements

Many people in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the nation believe prenuptial agreements are for wealthy individuals or celebrities with significant assets to protect. While this is largely true, documents of this nature can be just as beneficial for individuals of average means who are looking to safeguard certain assets before tying the knot.

A well-prepared prenup is designed to reduce the expenses often associated with the end of a marriage. Predetermining asset division prior to exchanging "I dos" could also minimize emotion-fueled battles, which sometimes get fairly contentious and costly if divorcing spouses choose to dig their heels in. A prenup can also provide an incentive for soon-to-be-spouses to be upfront about their existing assets and debts prior to marriage. This step may reduce arguments should a marriage end.

How job loss can affect the divorce process

The process of untying the knot can suddenly become even more stressful for couples if one spouse loses his or her job. When this happens, a court often makes an attempt to develop a better understanding of the circumstances involved before making any rulings regarding divorce-related issues such as spousal or child support.

The court will likely address job loss during a divorce based on why a spouse is no longer working. If a higher-earning spouse loses their job due to company-wide layoffs, for instance, a judge is more likely to make appropriate income adjustments. But if a spouse was fired because of their actions, the court will likely expect them to still meet their divorce-related financial obligations. However, if an unemployed spouse is honestly unable to provide support until they regain employment, this fact may be addressed in the divorce agreement.

Divorce and retirement savings

Married couples in Wisconsin who get a divorce are likely to find that the process can be draining emotionally. They should also be prepared for how it will affect them financially. When it comes to finances, the biggest impact may be on retirement savings. This may be an issue if one party did not work during the marriage, and the other party's retirement was meant for both spouses.

Divorcing couples may want to first consider engaging in negotiations regarding retirement savings. If both parties have retirement savings that are almost equal, a simple solution may be to leave retirement savings as they are, retaining their personal accounts. However, if one party has retirement savings that are significantly more than the other party’s, negotiation may be more difficult. In this situation, the party with fewer retirement assets may try to negotiate for a share of the other party's savings.

Tips for coparenting in the teen years

When parents in Wisconsin get a divorce, their children are affected as well. As those children move into the teen years, parents may face a new set of challenges. It is important to avoid some common errors when co-parenting teens, such as easing off on communication with one another on the assumption that their teen will fill in the gaps. This can mean one parent does not realize that there are certain issues on which the teen may need guidance.

Parents might also start to default to relying on the teen to carry any important information between them. This can put a lot of power in the teen's hands and can be unreliable. As teens become more independent and are able to drive themselves places, they may take advantage of parents' ignorance if parents stop coordinating schedules with one another regularly. Parents should also continue making an effort to get to know their teen's friends instead of assuming the other parent does.

Co-parenting is not always the right answer

The general consensus in the family law world is that continuing to spend time with both their parents after a divorce is what's best for children. As such, co-parenting is often highly encouraged when figuring out a parenting agreement. However, this might not always be the best idea. Wisconsin residents might like to know about instances when co-parenting might not work.

The biggest issues preventing co-parenting often involve situations where sharing custody would not be safe for a parent or child. This may occur when a parent has a history of violence, or ex-spouses have restraining orders against one another. One parent may be emotionally or physically abusive or might have abandoned or neglected a child in the past.

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