Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC
Milwaukee Area's Premier
Family Law Firm
Free Office Consultation
Call Us: 414-939-0529
Waukesha Office: 262-307-2775
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter

Divorce remains complicated for gay and lesbian couples

It has been over a year since federal Judge Barbara Crabb overturned Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage. However, some of the rights of gay and lesbian couples in Wisconsin remain unclear today, particularly when it comes to divorce.

If you are facing the end of your marriage to a same-sex spouse, you may have a number of questions regarding your rights and options.

Same-sex couples in Wisconsin encounter a variety of issues when divorcing, including:

  1. Child custody and placement: Your parental rights are simply not as straightforward as they are for those in heterosexual marriages. In Wisconsin, under the marital presumption of parentage, a husband is the legal father of a child born to the wife during marriage. But a patchwork of laws affecting same-sex couples across the country for decades have long made it difficult for gay and lesbian parents to gain equal parental rights. Your rights and obligations regarding child custody, placement and child support will hinge on whether the state recognizes you as the child's legal parent.
  2. Maintenance (alimony): The length of a marriage is a factor when it comes to awarding maintenance in Wisconsin. No gay or lesbian couples were married in Wisconsin prior to June 6, 2014, but some couples had married in other states where it was legal and returned or relocated to Wisconsin. So, if you were married in 2008 in Iowa, have you been legally married eight years or 18 months? The answer to this question affects how much maintenance you could pay or receive.
  3. Property contracts: Prior to the 2014 ruling, some same-sex couples took matters into their own hands. Without the right to marry and gain protection under family laws, some couples entered into written property agreements. You will need to understand how any pre-marital property agreements could come into play in your divorce.

The answers to all of these questions are subject to evolving laws and their interpretation. A cooperative divorce approach is the best possible option for most divorcing same-sex couples in order to best navigate these difficult legal issues. This would allow you and your spouse to determine the terms of your divorce, taking control over your future instead of leaving this up to a judge.

The first step you should take is to meet with an experienced family law attorney. Founded in 1997, the Milwaukee law firm of Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC, practices family law exclusively. We offer free initial consultations and would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Contact Our Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


This site uses Google's Invisible reCAPTCHA, which is subject to Google's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Office Location

Milwaukee Office
2675 N Mayfair Rd
Suite 610
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Phone: 414-939-0529
Fax: 414-258-3903
Milwaukee Law Office Map

Waukesha Office
N19 W24400 Riverwood Drive
Suite 350
Waukesha, WI 53188

Waukesha Law Office Map

Review Our Firm