No matter how complicated or simple your family law case may be, it is an emotional and difficult time for your family, including your children and extended family. The process and associated court procedures often bring with them complex issues dealing with custody, parenting time, finances, retirement, debt, taxes and business valuations. Generally speaking, a divorce is "complex" when the stakes involved are high, as in cases with custody disputes, substantial assets, cases involving self-employed business owners, family-owned businesses or unusual assets such as inheritances/gifts.
At Schofield Higley Mayer, we have attorneys with decades of experience to help you wade through the rough waters of the legal proceedings in Family Law cases. Some of our expertise is found in the following areas:
Divorce is stressful. Schofield Higley & Mayer understands that the decision to divorce is difficult, and must be handled carefully, and with attention to detail.
We handle a full range of matters related to divorce with the commitment to secure a fair resolution for our clients. During the divorce process many issues will arise, including many complex issues. These issues can include child custody, child support, spousal support, division of property and debt. After the divorce is final, post-divorce disputes may arise, such as modification of child support and custody orders, orders regarding the sale of property, or the enforcement of prior orders of the court. We are fully prepared and will provide competent legal representation pertaining to any of these issues.
We help our clients through this difficult time. During the dissolution process, we work to reduce conflict and help clients make the best legal choices. Our priority is to ensure our clients know exactly what to expect throughout the divorce process. Knowing what to expect can lessen the stress and provide clarity when critical decisions must be made. We explain the different process options specific to each case and provide recommendations appropriate for each case and client. We are thoughtful in protecting marital and parental rights, ensuring each matter is given appropriate consideration and attention.
Alimony /Spousal Support
Spousal support may be provided to either spouse as part of a divorce. The law governing spousal support is very complex and subjective, and the amount paid depends on the facts of each case. If two people can reach an agreement on spousal support, the court will enforce this agreement regardless of the amount of spousal support the court would have ordered. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, then the determination of a spousal support award is litigated in court. Given that the law regarding spousal support is subjective, whether you are seeking alimony or your spouse has requested that you pay spousal support, parties are best served by having experienced counsel.
Schofield Higley & Mayer SC offers experience, knowledge, and guidance for clients seeking financial support and defending clients who may be or are ordered to pay support to ensure that the amount is fair and appropriate.
The division of assets and debts in divorce can pose significant challenges. Many factors can affect the final property settlement: whether the assets and debts are community or separate, whether an asset has been transmuted from separate to community property, determining what value is placed on a significant asset, etcetera. Schofield Higley & Mayer works to achieve a fair and reasonable division of all community assets such, which may include:
- High value investment assets;
- Family-owned businesses and closely held corporations;
- Professional practice interests; and
- High value homes, vacation homes, and investment real estate.
We also work with clients who may have significant debt, such as:
- Homes worth less than the outstanding mortgage;
- I.R.S. tax debt; and
- Extensive credit card debt.
Our firm helps ensure that asset and debt division is fair and reasonable by identifying all relevant factors, and identifying and assigning ownership, correct valuations to assets and debts, including, when appropriate, the use of forensic accounts to locate hidden assets, business valuation experts, and other financial experts. With this information we work with our client to tailor an innovative and fair proposal, or properly evaluate the other party’s proposal. We protect your marital rights and ensure you receive a fair and equitable distribution of assets and debt.
Child Custody and Timeshare
Child custody and timeshare litigation can arise in dissolution of a marriage and for many years after divorce. In most custody cases, parents must agree upon a timeshare arrangement that is reasonable both for the children and the parents, or the court will determine an arrangement. Decisions made during child custody cases will have significant impact on your children.
Some of the most contested Court cases pertain to child custody and timeshare. The standard for custody and timeshare determinations is the “best interests of the child,” which is quite susceptible to different interpretations depending upon each parent’s point of view. This issue can give rise to prolonged and expensive litigation with the appointment of expert psychologists, counselors, and a Guardian ad Litem (the child’s lawyer), if the issues warrant such appointments. If parents cannot agree on the custody and timesharing of a child, then the Court, with the assistance of counselors at Family Court Services, and/or one or more the professionals detailed above, will make the decision for the parents. Parents generally are much better served working through and resolving custody and timesharing issues together (keep the control in their hands), than allow a Court to decide. Moreover, children suffer during custody battles.
Schofield Higley Mayer makes every effort to assure that children do not suffer and that our client has time with his/her children. Our priority is protecting the interest of the children involved in this difficult process, while helping a parent make the most informed decisions. Our goal is to negotiate an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children. If this is not possible, we are fully prepared to present the most effective argument to the Court.
Child support is computed pursuant to the Wisconsin Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are strictly followed by the Court, except in very limited situations.
Child Support is based upon the time a child spends with each parent, each parent’s gross income, and child related expenses–such as monthly medical, dental, and vision insurance, daycare expenses, and other extraordinary child expenses.
If you want to calculate child support, use the Child Support Calculator and follow the steps discussed on the webpage. Assuming you have entered the correct information, the Child Support Calculator will produce a figure that may be close to what a Court would determine.
Contact us to discuss child support and to determine the amount of child support for setting initial child support or modifying an existing child support order. Additionally, if a parent ordered to pay child support has failed to make child support payments as ordered, contact us to discuss how to seek judicial intervention to obtain child support.