Family Law

Family Law covers a wide range of legal matters that affect the family.  You build your entire life around your family and caring for those you love.  Sometimes you need to work to protect your relationships.  Sometimes you need to protect yourself.

Divorce

Nothing about divorce is easy.  People enter into a marriage planning that they will spend the rest of their lives together.  Too many people try to start their divorces by themselves.  It seems like something they can work out, but later on it takes lawyers more time to fix all the problems.

During a divorce there are many things to consider.  Your retirement.  Your children.  Your home.  Your income.  When your marriage is falling apart, you are going through an emotional storm.  Having an experienced attorney helps to make sure there is a non-emotional person handling matters and walking you through all the important decisions that will affect your life for years to come.

Child Custody / Placement

Your children are precious.  There is no way to make up for time away from your children.

There are two things to address when going through a divorce with children.  Other than addressing their emotional needs, you need to discuss both placement and custody.  Custody refers to the decision making authority of a parent.  This primarily means decisions about what schools your children will attend, what faith they will be raised in, or matters of health care.

When people ask about custody, what they usually mean is placement.  Placement refers to the physical location of your children.  This is one of the biggest issues in a divorce.  There are many factors courts consider: primary care provider, who is in the marital residence, what will cause the least disruption in school, does the parent outside the marital residence have enough space to facilitate overnight visitation, etc.

Child Support / Spousal Support (Alimony)

There are two major financial issues that will be addressed right away.  Child support and Spousal Maintenance, commonly known as alimony.

If you are not the parent who gets primary placement, you could face a child support payment.  Child support starts based on a percentage set by statute.  The percentage takes into account the number of children you have.  There are any number of reasons why the court would deviate from this standard formula and it is important to get complete information to the court.

Spousal support is designed to make sure that neither spouse is financially harmed.  When one spouse makes more money than the other, the court orders maintenance to help the lesser earning spouse get established.  Maintenance is based on several factors including length of the marriage, earning differential, age of the party, health of the parties, property divisions, and many more things.  Maintenance is not designed to last forever, but just long enough to help the other party through the transition.

Prenup / Postnup / Separation

These agreements are governed by several rules in Wisconsin.  Any agreement requires a showing that all parties are fully aware of each other’s financial circumstances.  There are many different online forms out there, but many fall short of the required declarations.  It is important that you work with an attorney to tailor your agreement.

Mediation / Collaborative Divorce

Sometimes, you do not need to have a full contested divorce.  Mediation or a collaborative session might help.  Courts order mediation in the hope that parties will be able to work out their issues without the need for the court to issue orders.  We offer services for couples seeking to work out their disagreements.  Mediation is not a binding decision.  It is just a chance to come to an agreement, if the parties cannot agree then they will simply return to court and move on with the contested action.