How experienced is your legal team?

Principal attorney John F. Zeckel established his private law practice in 1994, but he has been practicing law since 1984.

Can Mr. Zeckel represent both my spouse and I during our divorce?

No. It is both illegal and unethical to represent both parties in a divorce case, or any case with competing parties.

If I’m getting a divorce, do we have to split our property evenly, or can we compromise?

If you do not wish to divide your assets and property evenly, there many other alternatives. However, if you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse and you cannot agree, the court will have to do so for you and they typically advocate for the equal division of property.

Once an alimony agreement is determined, is there any way to modify or nullify it?

Yes, but your present circumstances must be very compelling in order to do so. Things such as a loss of employment or new marriage sometimes satisfy these high standards, but not always. Your best bet for modifying your alimony agreement is to retain an experienced family law attorney who can advise you.

My son and his wife are getting divorced and it looks as though she will be awarded full custody of my grandchildren. I’m terrified I won’t get to see them anymore. Is there anything I can do legally to maintain my relationship with them?

There are many situations in which grandparents are able to exercise their rights to build visitation time into a custody arrangement for them specifically. We can help you advocate for these rights and build a compelling argument for the divorce court.

What happens if my partner and I can’t decide on a custody arrangement for our children?

If you and your partner cannot come to agreement about the custody of your children, a judge presiding over your divorce case will make this decision for you based on what he or she believes to be in the best interest of your children.

Do I need to do estate planning if I don’t own very many assets?

Yes. Estate planning is something all adults need to complete in order to protect the assets they do own and their families in the event of serious injury or death. We can help you with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, and more.

I’ve been named the executor of an estate that is subject to probate and I don’t know where to start. Can you help?

Yes. We have helped countless clients successfully complete the Wisconsin probate process and can do the same for you.

What are your hours of operation?

We are available for client meetings Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We also offer 30 minute consultations outside of our normal hours of operation in special circumstances.

What forms of payment does your firm accept?

We accept client payments via credit card or checks, though we prefer checks.

The Law Office of John F. Zeckel, S.C. provides effective legal representation to clients in the areas of family law, estate planning, and probate in Menomonee Falls, Waukesha County, Washington County, and throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Contact our firm today at (262) 255-2050 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.

How does a court split up property in a divorce?

Many divorcing couples are able to come to an agreement about how their property will be divided after their marriage ends, but when this doesn’t happen the court will split up the property. Courts consider whether property is community or individual property when making the split. Marital property includes all earnings during marriage and everything acquired with those earnings. Separate property is that which was obtained prior to marriage by one spouse or the other. Marital property is divided based on one of two basic methods, which include equitable distribution, which is not necessarily equal, or community property, which is the case in Wisconsin.

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What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

Though divorce is the most common approach to dealing with the end of a marriage, some couples choose to instead legally separate. The primary difference between divorce and legal separation is that in a divorce marriage is formally concluded. This means spouses are no longer legally bound to one another and are free to remarry. In legal separation spouses remain legally married to each other and cannot remarry unless they proceed with a divorce. Couples choose legal separation over divorce for a variety of reasons including financial benefits, tax benefits, religious reasons, ineligible for divorce, potential to reconcile, and more.

How is alimony determined?

Sometimes couples are able to come to terms regarding alimony or spousal support on their own, but if this is not possible the court provides a plan for alimony. In general, it considers the education level of both spouses, the earning capacity of the spouse seeking alimony, and whether or not either spouse contributed to the other’s earning power or education. Additionally, health, age, and length of marriage might also be considered. There is no official formula for calculating alimony as there is with child support.

 

Do grandparents have visitation rights to their children?

Though many grandparents seek legal action regarding their ability to spend time with their grandchildren, there are no official legal visitations rights for grandparents. The primary goal of the court system in Wisconsin is to protect the right of the parent to raise their child as they see fit with as little outside interference as possible. Grandparents might have a right to petition the court for visitation if there is other legal action pending or if they can show that a parent or parents are unfit. Even if the court considers a grandparent’s request for visitation its primary concern will be for the best interest of the child.

Does child support increase when spousal support ends?

Spousal and child support have an effect on one another because parental income is used to determine child support. For instance, if a spouse receiving spousal support ends because of remarriage, the paying spouse’s income would be different because he or she will no longer be making alimony payments. Therefore when the formula used to calculate child support is applied it could result in a higher amount because the paying spouse has more money. There are also instances in which spousal support increases when child support ends.

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