Resources

  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. Is it illegal to change locks during a divorce?

    No. It is not illegal to change the locks . . . however, it can get complicated. Changing Locks During Separation or Divorce Legal Separation and Divorce are virtually the same in Wisconsin. They both legally end a marriage and the legal process is nearly identical for both. Therefore, this article applies equally to legal…

  4. Emancipation in Wisconsin

    What does an emancipation of a child mean? “Emancipation” refers to a child becoming a legal adult. How to Get Emancipated In Wisconsin there is no legal process for emancipation. Children cannot “divorce” their parents and declare themselves independent via a court process. At what legal age can a child emancipate themselves from their household?…

  5. 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!…

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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,…

  9. How Does the Court Decide the Custody and Placement of Children?

    Karp & Iancu S.C. explains the factors a court or Guardian ad Litem considers when determining placement and custody of a child and helps you understand which factors might be most important in your case. From the concept of joint decision-making to the goal of maximizing time with each parent, keep reading to learn how…

  10. 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…

  11. 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…

  12. Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Handle My Divorce?

    . . . For all the same reasons you should hire a surgeon to perform your surgery. In some ways, hiring a lawyer versus representing yourself is like the difference between plastic surgery with a scalpel and plastic surgery with a chain saw. A skilled divorce lawyer can help divide your marital estate and time…

  13. How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

    A Minimum of Four to Six months (or More). It takes a long time to get divorced in Wisconsin. In fact, it takes longer in Wisconsin than in almost any other state. This is because Wisconsin has a mandatory 120-day “cooling off” period between the time a divorce is filed and the time it can…

  14. 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…

  15. Pregnant during a divorce?

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  16. Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

    Before you and your fiancé say your “I do’s”, it may be in your best interests to consider signing a prenuptial agreement. While no one likes to think about the possibility of divorce, especially before you’ve even wed, the truth is that forever is a long time, and there is no guarantee or requirement that…

  17. Financial Disclosure Statements in an Uncontested Divorce

    In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree to end the marriage without litigation. Sometimes, they may even have laid out what each spouse will walk away with from the marriage. So why does each spouse have to share financials with each other? Why You Need a Financial Disclosure Statement There are two reasons for this….

  18. 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…

  19. The Importance of a Financial Disclosure Statement

    When going through a divorce or legal separation, one of the most important documents you will need to complete is a financial disclosure statement under oath. In Wisconsin, there is a strong emphases on the importance of this financial disclosure statement, which is to be completed by both parties on an annual basis. Financial Disclosure…

  20. 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…

  21. 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?…

  22. What Is A Contested Divorce?

    Contested Divorce: When Couples Can’t Agree Couples often get divorced when they can agree only one on thing: that they don’t want to be married anymore. However, there are many decisions that go into the dissolution of a marriage. A contested divorce is a divorce in which the court makes these difficult decisions for you…

  23. COVID-19 Pandemic & Divorce: What You Need To Know

    We’ve Temporarily Taken Our Practice Digital Thanks to technology, our attorneys can still offer the same award-winning service to their Milwaukee-area clients despite the current pandemic. Fill out the form below to set up a 100% confidential, no-pressure online divorce consultation. Prefer to call? (414) 453-0800 During this time, our staff and attorneys continue to…

  24. Child Support: How Do You Calculate Income?

    I was asked the other day when computing child support, what should you be looking at?  Should you be looking at current income, last year’s income, year to date income, or some combination of all the above? What is the most accurate portrayal of a person’s income for purposes of calculating child support? Where to…

  25. How Will Divorce Affect My Taxes in Wisconsin?

    Tax reform is an important topic in the news currently, in part due to the fact that the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have a significant impact on what happens to people’s taxes when they are getting a divorce in Wisconsin. Common Wisconsin Tax Deductions and Exemptions Most people are aware that when you…

  26. What To Do If You Cannot Afford a Divorce Lawyer

    A frequently asked question when going through a divorce is what to do if you need an attorney, but cannot afford one. What are the alternatives and where can one find help? 1. Pubic Defenders – Some people are under the misconception that if they cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for…

  27. How low can you go?

    Sometimes when people are going thru a divorce, they start to fight over the most petty and sometimes silly things. I thought it might make for an interesting blog to discuss some of the things that I have seen over the years and things you should definitely NOT be arguing about when going through a divorce….

  28. 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?…

  29. Is the Wisconsin so-called “grandparents visitation statute” unconstitutional?

    Family lawyers through out the state of Wisconsin have been closely following a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court dealing with grandparent’s visitation rights in the state of Wisconsin. On May 24, 2019, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued it’s decision in the Michels v. Kelsey case, 2019 WI 57. The Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted certification…

  30. 150 miles or 100 miles? Which Wisconsin law applies?

    I receive a fair number of phone calls and on line inquiries about what a person is required to do to move away following a divorce. What notice is required? Do I have to file a motion? What reasons do  I need to move? How long will the process take? How much will it cost?…

  31. 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…

  32. 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…

  33. How to calculate child support in the state of Wisconsin

    How do you calculate child support in the State of Wisconsin? The answer depends on what type of placement there is. Traditional placement. Where one parent has the child 75% or more of the time, and the other parent visits, the non-custodial parent pays a percentage of their gross monthly income for child support purposes;…

  34. How to prove a parent is “unfit.”

    Almost every other phone call or on line inquiry we receive, concerns a post judgment custody issue where someone wants to prove or allege the other parent is “unfit.” The idea is they want to obtain primary placement of the children, and in many cases, also involves pre-judgment matters. How do you go about proving…

  35. When do “variable costs” apply in Wisconsin?

    What are “variable costs?”  Wisconsin DCF 150 (29) defines “variable costs” as the reasonable costs above basic support costs incurred by or on behalf of a child, including but not limited to the cost of child care, tuition, a child’s special needs, and other activities that involve substantial cost.   2. When do “variable costs”…

  36. Are section 71 payments extinct in Wisconsin?

    It’s a new year, and with the new year, bring sweeping changes in the tax code as it affects maintenance payments. Under the 2017  Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for any new cases after 1/1/19,  one can no longer deduct maintenance (alimony) payments, nor are they taxable income to the recipient.  In light of that,…

  37. Can you get your own Guardian ad litem appointed?

    Interestingly, over the last few days, several people have asked me the same question; that is, can you get your own guardian ad litem appointed, or bring some other person to court for your child as their guardian ad litem? The answer under Wisconsin law is “no.”  The court appoints the guardian ad litem. Whenever…

  38. Different placement arrangements in Wisconsin

      There is an old saying that “one size fits all,” but when it comes to placement of minor children in a  divorce, there are a myriad of different placement arrangements that might work for one family, and for the next family it could be a train wreck. What works for one, doesn’t necessarily equate…

  39. 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…

  40. 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…

  41. 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…

  42. When a woman is married and pregnant from another man.

    Many times in family law cases, we see situations where a woman becomes pregnant while still married. The husband by law, is presumed to be the biological father of the child. It complicates the divorce. If either the mother or her husband raise the issue with the trial court that the husband may not be…

  43. Challenging the Guardian ad litem

          The other day I wrote about the nuts and bolts of how a guardian ad litem conducts their investigation. What happens when you finally receive the recommendation, but you don’t agree with it? Is there anything you can do to challenge the recommendation? There is a procedural challenge to either the investigatory…

  44. 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…

  45. Wisconsin Adultery Laws

    Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful to you can be a painful shock. That can be especially true if you have children or if you’ve been married for an extended time. As such, you might seek out help determining what to do about their infidelity. You’ll need to understand Wisconsin adultery laws, first, so…

  46. Finding the right divorce lawyer

    I have written previous blogs about how one goes about to find a divorce lawyer. Today’s topic is about finding the right lawyer for you in a family law case. You need to have a mindset from day one, about what type of a lawyer you are looking for. Are you looking for a lawyer…

  47. Are Sick Leave accounts subject to property division in Wisconsin?

      Just when you thought you had heard everything that a couple might be fighting about in a divorce case, you stumble across a new issue or asset pertaining to whether a person’s accrued sick time or sick leave account is subject to equal property division in Wisconsin? It appears over the years the answer…

  48. 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…

  49. How to stop your spouse from making Disparaging Remarks about you

      You are in the middle of the divorce and find out that your soon to be ex is bad mouthing you to your children. They are profane in referring you, put you down all the time and trying to poison the children against you. When your children come home after visiting with the other…

  50. Dismissing a divorce

    Every once in awhile, someone will file a divorce or legal separation and then change their mind about it. How does one properly go and dismiss a divorce or separation case that has been filed with the court? Voluntary notice of dismissal. If you haven’t yet personally served your spouse, or if they have been…