Family & Divorce

On the latest episode of the WI Law in Action podcast from the UW Law Library, host Kris Turner interviews Professor S. Lisa Washington, the 2021-22 William H. Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prof. Washington previously worked as a public defender in New York City, defending clients in family court. She also supervised students in the family court defense clinic at the Cardozo School of Law. Her article, “Survived and Coerced: Epistemic Injustice
Continue Reading WI Law In Action Podcast: S. Lisa Washington on Epistemic Injustice in the Family Regulation System

One of the expected consequences of the COVID epidemic was disputes between parents regarding parenting children.

These disputes could be over any of these matters:

  • To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
  • To mask or not mask
  • Virtual schooling or in-person
  • The contact of children with unvaccinated people

Not surprisingly, there have been (to my knowledge, at least) no reported cases on any of these issues at the appellate level. This was expected given the length of time it takes
Continue Reading COVID and Custody: Surprising Lack of Litigation Among Parents Over Vaccines, Masks

Wisconsin child support is established using a formula that accounts for each parent’s income and percentage of time s/he spends with the child.  However, if the court determines that employing the guideline child support is unfair to the child or either of the parents, the law allows the court to deviate from the guidelines. To do so, the court can consider several factors.  Three factors that are frequently invoked to justify a deviation from guideline child support are:

Continue Reading Deviation from Wisconsin Guideline Child Support

Is child support automatically suspended if I lose my job and income? The answer is No. In Wisconsin, the child support will not be modified unless a party files a motion to modify it or two parties reach an agreement on changing the amount and request the court to make it an order to replace the old child support order.

Oftentimes, the judgment or the order governing child support would provide that the party who has child support obligation
Continue Reading Am I still on the hook of paying child support if I lose my job?

Two legislative committees in Madison heard a bill this week that would allow sexual assault survivors to obtain permanent restraining orders, preventing them from being re-traumatized by having to face their abusers.

The post Sexual Assault Survivors and Permanent Restraining Orders appeared first on Kowalski Wilson & Vang, LLC.
Continue Reading Sexual Assault Survivors and Permanent Restraining Orders

La Crosse County DHS v. B.B. and E.B., 2020AP2030 & 2020AP2031, District 4, 9/30/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

B.B. and E.B. challenge the order terminating their parental rights, arguing that the guardian ad litem improperly invoked the children’s best interest standard during the grounds trial and that conducting the dispositional hearing via Zoom violated their due process rights. The court of appeals rejects both arguments.

GAL’s conduct during grounds trial

It’s well settled that the
Continue Reading GAL didn’t improperly argue best-interests standard at TPR trial; Zoom disposition hearing didn’t violate parent’s right to be present

A Wisconsin man recently found out the hard way that you cannot outrun your child support obligations. Matthew Finley, 39, was extradited from Appleton to Putnam County, Indiana, over a failure to pay more than $30,000 in back child support.

The post Consequences of Fleeing Child Support Obligations appeared first on Kowalski Wilson & Vang, LLC.
Continue Reading Consequences of Fleeing Child Support Obligations

A Wisconsin man recently found out the hard way that you cannot outrun your child support obligations. Matthew Finley, 39, was extradited from Appleton to Putnam County, Indiana, over a failure to pay more than $30,000 in back child support.

The post Failure to Pay Child Support appeared first on Kowalski Wilson & Vang, LLC.
Continue Reading Failure to Pay Child Support

Wisconsin state statute 944.16 classifies adultery as a Class I felony.

However, this law is not typically utilized. It conflicts with other statements in Wisconsin law, such as the fact that Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. Wisconsin law additionally states, , “Although the state does not regulate the private sexual activity of consenting adults, the state does not condone or encourage any form of sexual conduct outside the institution of marriage.”

If you have further questions about
Continue Reading Is Adultery Illegal in Wisconsin?

On March 22, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court temporarily suspended in-person proceedings. Now, a year and a half later, it has become clear that Zoom proceedings are likely here to stay in at least some sort of capacity. When you are not actually in the courtroom itself, it can be easy to forget that all of the same formalities still apply. Here are a few tips for client’s regarding Zoom etiquette:

  • Practice, practice, practice! If you are unfamiliar with

  • Continue Reading Zoom Hearing Tips

    A new statute has established that a paternity adjudication may not always be in the best interest of the child, even if genetic testing has already occurred. As noted in our January 2015 blog (found here:, Wis. Stat. §767.863(1m) provides, “In an action to establish the paternity of a child who was born to a woman while she was married, if a male other than the woman’s husband alleges that he, not the husband, is the child’s
    Continue Reading When a Paternity Adjudication May Not Be in Child’s Best Interest

    On April 6, 2021, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its
    decision in
    Brackeen v. Haaland
    , an appeal from the District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The case challenged the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the validity of regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).This article provides an overview of ICWA, the constitutional challenges presented in
    Brackeen, a summary of the Fifth Circuit’s decision, and the decision’s practical implications.Background:
    Continue Reading Fifth Circuit: Indian Child Welfare Act Is Constitutional

    Like any other civil action, family law matter outcomes are decided on the facts. Those facts are typically collected directly from the client, and through interrogatories and requests for production of documents.

    Typically these methods alone are sufficient to collect the discovery you need to engage in settlement negotiations and prepare for trial.

    However, there are other methods of collecting facts that may be appropriate and necessary in some matters. To best represent their clients, family law practitioners should
    Continue Reading 3 Discovery Tools Underemployed in Family Law

    In order to calculate the support obligation, the court must first determine a parent’s monthly income available for support. According to Administrative Rule DCF 150, the monthly income available for support is based on the parent’s gross monthly income, from all sources including:

  • wages, salaries, earnings, tips, interest, capital gains, commissions, and bonuses,
  • worker’s compensation or other personal injury awards intended to replace income,
  • unemployment insurance,
  • income continuation benefits and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments,
  • contributions to retirement

  • Continue Reading What counts the gross income available for child support in Wisconsin?

    In a previous column, I commented that one of the few silver linings of the dark, dark cloud called Covid-19 is that it has led to an increased use of technology, such as Zoom, and the resulting avoidance of unnecessary costs.

    Well, every silver lining has a cloud. In this case, it’s the loss of certain advantages which arise from looking at someone directly in the eye – and I don’t mean using a screen.

    To be sure,
    Continue Reading ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM: Sometimes, in-person is better