Child custody, child support, parental rights, alimony, property division—there’s a lot to deal with. The good news is that you don’t have to handle things on your own.
The Waukesha family law attorneys from Karp & Iancu, S.C. are dedicated attorneys you can count on. When you need someone who is transparent, compassionate, and knowledgeable, our experienced team of lawyers is the right choice. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
In Wisconsin, there is custody and physical placement. Custody refers to decision-making authority, such as where a child will live, go to school, or seek medical treatment. There are two kinds of custody, sole and joint, which means either one or both parents will make the decision.
Physical placement refers to the right to where your child sleeps at night. The two types of placement are primary and shared. Primary placement is when the child spends more than 75% of overnight visits with the same parent, while shared placement is when the child spends the night with each parent more than 25% of the time.
While parents can move their children around a neighborhood or city without court interference, once the parent moves more than 100 miles away, it becomes a relocation issue. This means that certain procedures must be followed before the move. For example, the relocating parent must provide the other parent with written notice showing intent to relocate 60 days or more before the proposed relocation. The notice must include the date of relocation as well as the parent’s new address.
When relocation is a possibility, it warrants reconsideration of the best interests of the child. However, it does not necessarily mean a change of custody. The judge will decide.
If you intend to relocate, you will need the court’s permission. You are required under Wisconsin law to file a motion. The motion must include:
- Date of relocation
- Where the parent plans to relocate (city and state)
- Reason for relocation
- Proposed updated placement schedule
The parent intending to relocate must serve a written copy of the motion to the other parent by mail. Once the motion is filed, the court must schedule an initial hearing within 30 days. Contact a family law attorney to learn more about the process and requirements.
A divorce decree is not always final. Sometimes life changes may result in modifications. Modifications are typically done in child support, child custody, and alimony cases. The parties do not always agree to these modifications, so judges have to make the final decisions.
There are a few reasons why a judge may approve a modification:
- Job loss
- Salary reduction
- Change in custody
- Neglect or abuse by one parent
If you cannot afford to pay child support, you should never ignore it. It is a court-ordered responsibility and if you fail to pay it, you could be held in contempt of court. You could be ordered additional punishment, including fines, license loss, and jail time. Talk to a lawyer about your legal options.
Sometimes the court gets things wrong, and when they do, you may be able to file an appeal.
An appeal requests the court to reexamine a decision based on an erroneous application or interpretation of the law. An appeal is not a “do over” and should not be initiated simply because you do not agree with the court’s decision. You will not be able to argue your case to another judge or a different court.
You can appeal any final order that is adverse to you. A final order is any order that resolves all the substantive issues between the parties and is considered to be the final document based on court proceedings. A final order in family law may be a Judgment of Divorce, Judgment of Paternity, or post-judgment modification order.
An appeal is handled almost entirely on paper, so you don’t have to return to court. The process from start to finish generally takes nine months. Here are the general steps involved.
- File a notice of appeal. An appeal must be initiated within 90 days of the final order. If you have been given a special “Notice of Entry of Judgment,” then you have 45 days from receipt.
- Notify the trial court. You must notify both the opposing party and the court that you are appealing the final order.
- Submit all filings and briefs. Meet with your attorney, who will prepare a written brief detailing the possible errors by the trial court and explain why it should be reversed. After you submit your brief, the other party will submit a response explaining why the trial court’s decision was correct. You will submit a reply brief, which will be your last chance to present your position and point out the court’s errors.
- Attend the oral argument. The court will review everything and determine if there are any questions or unresolved issues. If so, the Court of Appeals may schedule an oral argument with your attorney and the opposing party’s attorney to ask further questions.
- The court will issue a written decision. After 4-6 months, the court will issue a written decision. It will reverse the trial court’s decision if there are errors. If there are errors, the decision will stand.