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Helpful Articles: Parenting

Helpful articles about parenting and divorce; including custody, child support, and more.

February 22nd, 2018

The guardian ad litems’ investigation.

  Most litigants going through a custody battle in Wisconsin have heard of the appointment of a guardian ad litem. Most seem to lack an understanding of what the guardian ad litem is required to do or what type of an investigation needs to be undertaken. A guardian ad litem is required any time there…
January 19th, 2018

Release of medical records in a custody battle.

The other day I wrote a blog on the physician- patient privilege in Wisconsin, and under what circumstances it can be waived. One of those circumstances under Wisconsin law does not cover when parties are contesting custody of their minor children. So, the question becomes what is a party required to do when the court…
January 9th, 2018

Child dependency exemption under the Tax Cuts and Job Act

I have been receiving numerous inquiries on whether under the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, has affected the ability to still claim your children or dependents as an exemption. The Tax Cuts and Job Act has eliminated any personal exemptions. Instead, the new tax law has boosted the standard deduction and increased the…
December 12th, 2017

Child endangerment or innocent mistake?

In a case out of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, today, a mother was in court and plead not guilty to charges that she endangered her 9 year old child, when she put the child on the roof of her vehicle to hold down a small plastic wading pool. The mother, Amber  Schmunk, 29 who lives in…
September 30th, 2017

Restricted and Supervised Visitation

When a party going through a divorce is concerned that the other parent may pose a risk to the children, what safeguards can be put in place by the court to protect the children during their periods of placement? First, there must be a showing that the parent poses a legitimate risk of exposing the…
May 5th, 2017

Collecting Retroactive Child Support in Wisconsin

When can you collect back child support owed? From the birth of the children? From the time you separate? From the time you file a motion with the court? From the time the other party is served with the motion for court? From the time you are in court and the court orders support? Under…
May 2nd, 2017

Curbside Pickup

You are going through a divorce and one of the lawyers or the guardian ad litem mentions that during the exchange of the children, there should be "curbside pickup." You shake your head not having any idea what "curbside pickup" means, why it is necessary, and what effect, if it may have on your children.…
April 24th, 2017

Child support errors- Pro se Litigants

I have done a number of recent blogs about mistakes pro se litigants make. No, I am not picking on people who represent themselves when getting a divorce. Instead, the purpose of this series of blogs on the topic, is to avoid other people going through a divorce making similar mistakes. As many as 50%…
February 28th, 2017

Forgiveness of Child support Arrears

There have been a flurry of questions posed on some of the "ask lawyer" web sites like AVVO and LAWYERS.COM about whether a person can file a motion or request with the court to be relieved of their built up child support arrearages. The answer is no. The only person who can compromise or forgive…
February 27th, 2017

When does child support start when divorcing in Wisconsin?

You have filed for divorce and requested child support in your initial petition for divorce, but no one has exactly explained how you go about to receive child support? How do you go about to receive child support? How is the amount determined? When does it start? Does your spouse pay it to you or…
February 9th, 2017

How Many Bedrooms Does a Parent Need in Wisconsin?

A frequently asked child custody question in divorce cases is whether or not Wisconsin has a law that requires each child to have their own bedroom? what about their own bed? Can children sleep together? Is there an age cutoff? What if the children are sleeping on the couch? bunk beds? sleeping bags? on the…
February 7th, 2017

Supervised visitation; When is it ordered in Wisconsin?

I answer a lot of questions trying to help people on the law sites, AVVO and LAWYERS.COM. Many of them have to do with visitation disputes, and in particular, people are concerned that their former spouse or ex boyfriend or girlfriend is a potential danger or threat to their children. They want to know under…
January 29th, 2017

IRS form 8332; child dependency exemption

A frequently asked question is which parent in a divorce can claim the tax dependency exemption for the minor child? Under Federal law, the custodial parent is automatically entitled to claim the child as a tax dependency exemption. However, the exemption can be waived either by the custodial parent agreeing to the waiver or by…
January 16th, 2017

Qualifications to be a Guardian ad litem in Wisconsin

There is probably not a day that goes by that I am not responding to a question on AVVO or Lawyers.com about a party going through a divorce and a bitter custody battle, complaining that the Guardian ad litem is not doing their job, is biased, and wants them removed from the case. I thought…
December 15th, 2016

Does a birth certificate establish paternity in Wisconsin?

The answer to the headline to today's blog is no, at least not under Wisconsin law. This is a frequently asked question where people believe that if a person's name goes on the birth certificate, that legally establishes the person as being the biological father. This is legally incorrect. There are two ways that paternity…
November 28th, 2016

When does child support end in Wisconsin?

When you are under a support obligation for little children, it seems as though that obligation for support may never go away. At some point though, a parent no longer is obligated to pay support. When, under Wisconsin law does that duty end? The answer lies in sec. 767.511 (4) and reads as follows; "AGE…
November 1st, 2016

Paternity Jurisdiction over a non-resident in Wisconsin

Today we are exploring how the courts in Wisconsin has the power to determine paternity over a person who doesn't live in this state. Since we live in a transient society, this happens more often than you might have thought. The answer to how the court can exercise jurisdiction lies in sec. 769.201 of the…
October 7th, 2016

Access to Children’s records under Wisconsin’s custody laws

If you get divorced in Wisconsin and the other parent has custody, are you foreclosed from receiving copies of your children's medical, dental and school records? The answer lies at sec. 767.41 (7) of the Wisconsin Statutes; (7) ACCESS TO RECORDS. (a) Except under par. (b), or unless otherwise ordered by the court, access to…
October 4th, 2016

Cell Phones for Children?

You are divorced and your ex blocks communication when the kids are with them, so you decide to go out and purchase a cell phone for each of them, so they can call you anytime and you can call them, when they are with the other parent? good idea? Is it allowed? Must the other…
September 17th, 2016

Third party contempt

Often, pro se litigants get upset when third parties interfere in their children's affairs. This can include new significant others mostly, and sometimes grandparents or other close relatives. When you have a third party who interfered and acts as an intermeddler, they want the court to find them in contempt. It can be a situation…
September 14th, 2016

Failure to exercise placement under Wisconsin custody laws

Under what authority can someone attempt to modify physical placement, based on the fact that one parent repeatedly and unreasonably fails to exercise their court ordered placement time with the minor children? This is not as uncommon a problem as you might expect. If you are the primary parent and have concerns when the other…
August 20th, 2016

Intervenor; What is it?

While we typically don't see too many intervenor cases in family law matters, it certainly can happen. What is intervenor? What is the statutory authority for allowing it? In what type of cases or situations can one intervene in a case? 1. An intervenor is a party who does not have a substantial and direct…
August 19th, 2016

Ex Parte orders

How hard is it to go to court and have the judge or court commissioner sign an order, without a court hearing and without the other party being present to object? The answer is "very" at least in family court cases, and the likelihood that the judge or court commissioner would sign such an order…
August 5th, 2016

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A lawyer who represents a child’s best interests, but not the child itself. If there is a custody or placement dispute involving your children, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to perform an investigation and make a recommendation to the court. Questions answered in this article: What does a guardian ad litem do? …
July 30th, 2016

Deadbeat dad gets probation

Did you see the article in the newspaper the other day, about a dad who owed more than $245,000 and was put on probation, after being criminally charged? In a case of one of Milwaukee's worst deadbeat dad cases, a personal trainer from California was sentenced to five years of probation for failing to pay…
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