What are divorce alternatives? What are my options for divorce?

WI divorce agreement legal paperworkYour divorce doesn’t have to be like the hostile contentious divorce proceedings you see on TV. There are other options to the traditional litigated divorce; both options are confidential and can save you money and time during the very stressful divorce process. If you decide that mediation or a collaborative divorce is right for you, contact a local lawyer with experience in both areas.

Mediation

Mediation is a legal process facilitated by a neutral third-party, the mediator. During mediation, the couple meets with the mediator to come to a mutual agreement in all important areas, such as finances and property. For the process to work, the couple needs to be able to agree without a significant amount of dispute (which may mean this is not right for all couples). All resolutions are agreed upon by both spouses, meaning they control the outcome; there are no rulings made by outside parties.

Mediation is completely confidential, both now and in the future. Both members of the couple schedule meetings when they are available, instead of receiving summons from the court system with pre-scheduled, often inconvenient times. Because of these advantages, the overall mediation process can cost less than a litigated divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

If there are areas of dispute, a collaborative divorce may be the answer. During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains a lawyer who is present at all meetings. The lawyers and spouses set the meetings to discuss important areas, and may bring in experts to resolve issues (such as an accountant or child custody specialist). In a collaborative divorce, there is some time spent in a courtroom but that time is minimal because major issues have been decided.

Just like mediation, a collaborative divorce is confidential with a few exceptions. Your lawyer can outline those exceptions if you decide a collaborative divorce is in your best interest. The final judgment is a matter of public record.

Similar to mediation, a collaborative divorce can be less expensive that a litigated divorce. For the most part, the meetings are scheduled at times that work for both parties until the final time in court (which is scheduled by the court).

If you are interested in mediation or a collaborative divorce, contact a local lawyer with experience in family law. A lawyer can guide you through whatever process is right for you and your family.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

What is considered excessive damage that warrants keeping the security deposit?

rental property with excessive damage so landlord can keep security depositA security deposit is standard operating procedure for most landlords; charging a fee to cover any excessive wear and tear to the rental unit is a protection for the landlord.  While that protection is completely logical, the reasons for keeping the security deposit may not be as obviously logical; for example, worn carpet or dirty curtains does not qualify as valid legal reasons to keep the security deposit in Wisconsin.

What is considered excess damage?

Note the first part of this phrase: excess.  The Wisconsin legal system assumes that all units need to be cleaned after the tenant has moved out; therefore the damage that warrants retention of a security deposit needs to be extreme. To make sure the landlord has all legal bases covered, documentation of the condition of the unit before the tenant moves in and after the tenant moves out is important.

What is excess damage that would warrant keeping the security deposit?

This list is not an all inclusive list; however, this list can give you an idea of “excessive” damage situations that warrant keeping the security deposit:

  • Drywall damage (large hole or many small holes)
  • Broken bathroom faucets
  • Missing window treatments
  • Insect/pest problems that require an exterminator
  • Rips in the carpet or excessive stains
  • Mold on the walls

Again, all of these issues need to be problems that weren’t present at the time of move-in; thorough documentation of the unit before the tenant moves in is key.

When do I have to return the security deposit?

In Wisconsin, a landlord has to return the security deposit within 21 days after the tenant has moved out. If the tenant threatens any kind of legal recourse, a landlord can contact a local attorney for information specific to the local regulations.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.