Post-Divorce

  1. Vaccination Disputes in Child Custody Matters

    When Parents Disagree on the COVID-19 Vaccination The Food and Drug Administration just announced that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive the Pfizer Covid vaccine. Children as young as 6 months old may soon be able to receive the vaccine after ongoing clinical trials are complete. But what happens when…

  2. When can we legally sell or refinance the house in a divorce?

    The Answer Depends on Your Goals (and Your Relationship with your Spouse). Whether or not you sell or refinance your house will depend on several considerations: Does one of you want to keep living in the house? Can that person afford the house on his or her own? How good is your credit? Can you…

  3. What Happens With Stimulus Payments in a Divorce?

    Are you and your spouse living apart? Are you wondering where your stimulus check will land? What happens if your spouse takes your check? And do parents have to share stimulus money received for the children? Why did we each get stimulus checks for the same child? Learn the answers to these questions and more!…

  4. What Happens To An Adopted Child During (and After) A Divorce?

    Did you and your spouse adopt a child? Did you adopt your stepchild and make him your own? Are you worried that adopted children may be treated differently in a divorce? Parents of adopted children need not fear! Read on for reassurance about how your relationship with an adopted child continues after a divorce. Modern…

  5. Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce?

    You’ve heard of unhappy couples “staying together for the children,” but what if those “children” are fur babies? Some pet parents care as much for their animals as other parents do for their human children. But is there such a thing as “pet custody?” Who gets the dog in a divorce? Read on to find…

  6. Child Custody vs. Child Placement: What is the Difference?

    Custody and Placement are two family law concepts that are often confused or used interchangeably. However, they are very different and are, in some ways, not even related! In Wisconsin, child custody refers to the right of a parent to make major decisions for the child. Major decisions include such things as consent to marry,…

  7. May a Woman Use Her Former Surname After Divorce?

    Find out who is eligible for a name change upon divorce, how to change your name, and what your spouse can do to stop you. Also learn whether you can force your spouse to stop using your last name and what statute applies to name changes at the time of divorce. Yes. At the time…

  8. Will My Kids Get to Choose Where They Live After a Divorce?

    This is a very common question among divorcing parents and one of the main concerns parents have when they are going through the divorce process. The good news (or bad news, depending on your perspective), is that in Wisconsin children do not get to choose where they live. You may have heard rumors that children…

  9. Paying Maintenance Arrears in Wisconsin

    You Probably Can’t Avoid It. This article was originally written by attorney David Karp  and published on wisbar.org (link). When two people file for divorce, depending on differing levels of income, one spouse may be owed financial support from the other spouse with respect to child support, family support payments, or maintenance payments. Spousal maintenance…

  10. Nesting: An Alternative Placement Arrangement

    When most think of divorced families with children, they think of the children being shuffled to and from one parent’s house to the other. But there is another option–nesting arrangements. A nesting arrangement is when the children stay in the familial home and the parents rotate in and out depending on their placement schedule. A…

  11. Are Guardian Ad Litems Neutral?

    The other day on one of the “ask lawyer” web sites, someone posted a note asking if court appointed guardian ad litems are neutral and unbiased? They felt the guardian ad litem was against them and were advocating their removal from the case. Most of the responses provided by other lawyers to the inquiry was…

  12. Annual Exchange of Financial Information in Wisconsin

    Over the last few days, I have fielded a number of questions dealing with the law in Wisconsin that requires an annual exchange of financial information when divorced with children. Many don’t even know the law exists, or there is a such a requirement. Others ask me, what is the due date for the exchange?…

  13. When can you request a change in Custody in Wisconsin?

    We take numerous inquiries day in and day out from individuals who have gone through a family law case and are interested in changing custody. How does one go about it? Are there time restricitions for doing so? What is the burden of proof? What type of evidence does one need to modify the existing orders?…

  14. When does a divorce agreement become binding?

    There is a fair amount of misconceptions about the legalities of agreements when going through a divorce. Today’s blog, tackles some of those myths and resolves the question when and how does  a divorce agreement become binding? Handshake deals.  Informal agreements between the parties, what are commonly known as a “handshake deal” clearly are not legally…

  15. Child Custody Calculator in Wisconsin

    CALCULATING CHILD CUSTODY IN WISCONSIN Is there a way to calculate who gets custody of minor children when going through a divorce in Wisconsin? There are basically two forms of placement of minor children in Wisconsin when going through a divorce; a. Primary Placement. This traditional placement arrangement puts the children primarily in one parent’s home…

  16. Day care expenses and child support

    You have little children at home and both of you work. You are going through a divorce and wonder how day care is going to be paid for. Does child support cover day care costs? Are day care costs covered separately over and above child support? Are day care costs considered “variable costs” and paid…

  17. What is a QDRO and do I need one? 

    QDROs are specialized court orders used to divide qualified retirement assets. What is a QDRO and how does it work? “QDRO” (commonly pronounced “cue-droh” or “kwah-droh”) is an acronym that stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A QDRO is a special kind of court order that is required to divide certain retirement assets (typically defined…

  18. Ex Parte Orders

      Litigants going through a divorce have a perception that nearly everything about their case is “urgent” or an “emergency.” From the lawyer’s perspective and the court’s perspective, most of what the parties may feel is urgent or an emergency, rarely is. However, there are situations that truly are urgent and can be considered an…

  19. Revisions to Child support in Wisconsin

    Effective July 1, 2018, there are changes to the child support laws in the state of Wisconsin. The standard for determining child support changed, including revising “variable costs” where parents have shared or equal placement of their children. Under the previous law, “variable costs” were defined as “the reasonable costs above basic support costs incurred…

  20. Grandparents’ visitation rights at risk in Wisconsin?

      The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently certified a case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which accepted, could impact on grandparent’s visitation rights in the state of Wisconsin. The case is Michels v. Lyons, 2017 AP 1142 and the issue as pointed out in the certification is to clarify the standard of proof required for a…

  21. Child support beyond 18?

    Under Wisconsin law, child support ends at the 18th birthday, or if still in high school to graduate, no later than the 19th bitthday. People many times ask if there are circumstances to get support after that point? 1. A child with special needs. Under the current law, even though an adult child may have…

  22. Different ways to calculate child support in Wisconsin

    Check out our simple-to-use Wisconsin Child Support Calculator here. When going through a divorce in Wisconsin, and where there are minor children involved, there are two different formulas for calculating child support. Many times, we see custody battles that are not really custody battles at all, but rather disguised child support concerns; more time, equals…

  23. Collecting on your ex spouse’s social security

    A lot of people going through a divorce, may not know or realize that they may be eligible at retirement age, to start drawing social security on their ex spouse’s account. In order to do so, you must meet certain rules as outlined by the Social Security Administration. Forty three percent of unmarried older U.S….

  24. Waiver of 6 month waiting period for remarriage in Wisconsin

    Periodically,  I am asked, if there is a way to waive the statutory 6 month waiting period in Wisconsin before one can get remarried. The law basically states that if you are divorced in Wisconsin, you cannot remarry anywhere in the world for a period of 6 months, and if you should do so, the…

  25. Common Questions a Guardian ad Litem Will Ask You and Your Child

    And What to Expect The First Time You Meet A Guardian ad Litem investigation typically happens when the parties cannot agree on a custody or placement determination regarding their children. When the parties cannot resolve child-related issues on their own, the court appoints an attorney to investigate the children’s best interests and to make a…

  26. Guardian ad litem recommendations

    The other day I wrote about what a guardian ad litem’s investigation typically consists of, when parents are in engaged in custody litigation over their minor children. Today’s blog, focuses on what form the recommendation of the guardian ad litem takes and when one might expect to receive that recommendation. Assume that the parties are…

  27. 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…

  28. Court Sanctions in Wisconsin

    Sometimes litigants going through a civil matter, do not understand the significance of complying with court orders or rules and laws that govern pre-trial matters. There is a duty to cooperate with discovery under Chapter 804; that means timely complying with discovery requests, such as written interrogatories, that must be answered under oath within 30…

  29. 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…

  30. What happens when QDRO fees are not paid.

    It is a frequent problem when completing a divorce case, that where there are retirement benefits to divide, one of the parties fails to pay their portion of the drafting fees, and the QDROs do not get completed. Completing the QDROs (qualified domestic relations orders) is essential for the protection of the non-employee spouse, to…

  31. 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…

  32. 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….

  33. 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%…

  34. What constitutes a “substantial change in circumstances” in Wisconsin?

    We throw about the term “substantial change in circumstances” like everyone in the world would know what we are talking about. So, what does it mean and when does it apply? When you are divorced, and if you plan to modify financial support orders, whether it be child support, family support or maintenance, you are…

  35. Who keeps the tax refund?

    This is the time of year that we field a lot of questions from clients, and people seeking general information on how to file their income tax returns and who gets to keep the tax refund. People going through a divorce start to think that if they file separate, but married income taxes for the…

  36. 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…

  37. 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…

  38. 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…

  39. 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…

  40. Maintenance; How long in Wisconsin?

    One of the issues that creeps up when dealing with a maintenance issue (spousal support), is the question of how long should the term of maintenance be. Today’s blog will address the various scenarios for the length or term of maintenance. 1. HOLD OPEN. I have discussed this issue in a blog from last year…

  41. 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…

  42. 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…

  43. 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…

  44. 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…

  45. Family Support- What is it?

    Family support is a hybrid of child support and maintenance combined together. It allows the person who  is paying to deduct the payments, assuming all the requirements of sec. IRC 71 and 215 are met, and requires the payee to report the payments as taxable income. Child support is non taxable-non deductible. Maintenance (spousal support…

  46. Joint Decision Making

    We field a lot of questions with persons who have been divorced who don’t seem to have a full understanding of what joint custody of minor children means. They wind up making a decision about the child, without consulting or informing the other parent, and once their ex spouse learns of the decision, they wind…

  47. Can An Adult Child Sue Or Go After Their Parents For Neglect In Medical Care?

    In an interesting story out of Idaho, a 20 year old woman with a serious life long heart defect, blames her parents for failing to get her the proper medical care that could have medically corrected the problem. Her parents did not trust modern medicine and now she wants her parents to face justice. She…

  48. Can You Deduct Temporary Maintenance Payments?

    It is tax season. I am frequently asked if a person who is obligated under a temporary court order may deduct those maintenance (spousal support) payments, from their taxes. While there is no specific I.R.S. rule that says you can’t deduct them, one would need to comply with all of the conditions and terms under…

  49. Hold Open Child Support?

    The other day on one of the “ask lawyer” internet web sites, someone posted a question of whether you could waive or hold open child support. The answer to the former is no and the answer to the latter is yes. You cannot waive child support pursuant to a martial settlement agreement, as it is…

  50. Will the court let me move out of Wisconsin with the children?

    In Wisconsin, 767.481 stats., spells out the specific rules and requirements for a parent’s request to move either out of state, or more than 150 miles from the other parent within the state. There is some level of legal controversy over whether the so called “removal statute” applies in divorce cases and paternity cases. The…