Family & Divorce

While it does not happen with any great frequency, parties may from time to time change their mind about proceeding with a pending divorce or legal separation case. David B. Karp, Marquette 1982, is a partner with Karp & Iancu, S.C., Milwaukee, where he concentrates his practice in family law. How a family law action may be dismissed varies on whether the other party has filed any responsive pleadings or motions in the case. The statute dealing with the dismissal of a family law action falls under Wis. Stat. section 767.264 and reads: 767.264 Dismissal; vacation; substitution or withdrawal of…
In Zimmer v. Zimmer, the Court of Appeals addressed whether a motion to modify child support for a child over the age of majority can be retroactive when a parent fails to bring a timely motion to end support. The primary argument was that support obligations should automatically end when a child reaches the age of majority and if not, the accumulated excess payments should be credited in arrears. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial judge, holding that a court cannot refund child support payments that were made after the age of majority, but prior to a motion to…
In 2009, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT pride month, six years before gay marriage was legalized in the United States. Rewinding to mid-19th century, divorce became the popular alternative to an unhappy marriage. Fear of the immorality of divorce decreased in the United States at the turn of the 20th century and divorce rates began to rise as women gained social and financial freedom. As modernization increased, so did divorce rates. The result was divorce law constructed around, and solely for, heterosexual couples. When the millennial generation reached maturity, the phrase “half of marriages end in divorce” became increasingly…
In a Wisconsin divorce, property is divided according to community property laws. This means that marital property is split 50/50. In a high asset divorce, there is no exception, unless a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is present.  In a high asset divorce where many valuable assets exist, it is important to seek the aid of professional to ensure an accurate valuation of such assets. Even if one asset is not accounted for, it could impact the quality of your life post-divorce. At Kowalski Family Law, we provide a thorough accounting of your assets, working with professionals such as forensic accountants…
The most common way to establish child or spousal support in a family case involving a servicemember is to obtain a court order. Support orders are usually made in divorce or paternity cases. Wisconsin will grant orders for child support or spousal support (known as spousal maintenance). However, even if a state court order does not exist, the military will require a servicemember to pay support for his/her family. Each branch has different rules and calculations: Air Force: Total number of supported family members (children) x the member’s Base Allowance for Housing. Marines: The greater of a minimum monthly support…
If a child is born out of wedlock, according to Wisconsin law, who has legal custody of the child? If the parents are not married, then the mother is granted sole custody. Even if the father’s name is on the birth certificate, a court order still must be obtained in order to establish him as the biological father. The birth certificate has no legal force. For guidance throughout your family law matters, contact Kowalski Family Law. We routinely work with mothers and fathers to ensure their parental rights, and the best interests of the child are guarded. Link to Article
On May 11, 2021, Senate Bill 105 was passed by the Wisconsin Legislature. SB 105 was signed by Gov. Evers on May 21 and published May 22, and is now designated Act 35. This new Act 35 directly amends and retitles DCF 150 to restructure it so that the shared placement formula appears as the primary method of calculating support. Act 35 significantly restructures DCF 150. However, there are no substantive changes to the rule. In short, the ways to calculate support remain the same for practitioners and the courts. Federal law requires each state to implement child support guidelines,…
In 1995, the Wisconsin Legislature undertook a significant change and developed the Juvenile Justice Code under Wis. Stat. chapter 938. In doing so, it determined that there should still be a mechanism – a reverse waiver proceeding – to return youth to the juvenile justice system, including for the most serious of offenses. Wis. Stat. section 938.183 provides for five separate categories in which a child is to be treated automatically as an adult. These include children accused of certain offenses within secure detention or a juvenile correctional setting, as well as children who were already waived into adult court.…
The most discussed divorce case in social media today is the one recently filed by Bill and Melinda Gates. Although certainly not a typical divorce case, a few comments seem warranted, perhaps because of its unusual quality. First, although the case involves unbelievable amounts of money, from a family-law standpoint, substantial wealth makes a case easier to resolve. Probably the easiest mediation which I have ever conducted involved an estate in excess of $1 billion. There was plenty of support, such as business attorneys, accountants and – importantly – therapists, which were of great assistance. Both parties had way, way…
Clinical vaccine trials have been initiated for children 5 and under. To date, there have been approximately 144 children who have participated in this Phase 1 clinical trial.  As vaccines begin to be approved for younger individuals, divorce attorneys across the country are preparing for co-parent disagreements. According to a study by the Kaiser Family foundation, “fewer than a third of parents say they plan to get their kids COVID-19 shots as soon as it’s possible.”  Link to More Information The post Co-Parent Disagreements Pertaining to Vaccination of Children May Arise appeared first on Kowalski Family Law.…
The Wisconsin Statutes outlines the procedure for “Relocating a child’s residence”.  If you plan on moving more than 100 miles from your coparent with your child, it is referred to as a child relocation. In the case this occurs, Wisconsin law requires you to provide notice to your coparent. If your coparent objects to your move, then your case will be taken to court. In these cases, Wisconsin courts rule according to what will serve the best interests of the child. For sound legal advice and guidance throughout your child relocation case, contact Kowalski Family Law. We will work to…
In a legal divorce or paternity action, court-ordered mediation assists the parties to resolve issues related to custody and placement. Court-ordered mediation is usually done without the parties’ attorneys. Court-order mediation works because there is a third-party mediator who knows the legal process and helps parties negotiate the agreement in accordance with that process. Mediation is not new to the Hmong community. In fact, it is expected that there is mediation before a divorce, although the process is more expansive than the custody and placement mediation frequently ordered in family law cases. What is Clan Mediation? Mediation in the Hmong…
When it comes to terminating parental rights in Wisconsin, the process is carried out extremely carefully by judges. This is due to the fact that in terminating parental rights, all ties between a biological parent and their child are ended. Termination of parental rights occurs if the parents pose a danger to the child, or if they are unable to adequately care for the child. In the words of the Wisconsin Statutes, reasons for termination can include “abandonment” and “continuing parental disability”. Termination of a parent’s rights can ensure a child’s safety and well-being, and provide greater stability and permanence. However,…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanMay 12, 2021 A number of years ago, I dedicated a column in Wisconsin Law Journal to what I called “silly” laws in the field of family law. It was called “State needs to divorce itself from these family law rules,” and appeared in the July 2012 edition. “Silly” was my attempt to be diplomatic by not using the word “stupid”. In that article, I wrote: <em>But, perhaps the worst rule in this field of law is the prohibition against contingent custody and placement orders.</em> <em>In…
If you face interstate custody issues, contact Kowalski Family Law. We have noticed an increase in custody disputes between parents that reside in different states. This is most likely due to the fact that families are more mobile, and that parents are often moving for employment.   The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is the source of law that applies to Wisconsin custody disputes. The UCCJEA is designed for the prevention of a parent taking a child to another state and filing a custody action in that state.  Link to More Information The post Interstate Custody Issues appeared first…
My dear late mother used to say: It takes an awfully ill wind not to blow some good. The ill wind which is the subject of the column is the pandemic. The “some good” is the additional use of technologies by the courts. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court plans to conduct a public hearing on Rule Petition 20-09. That petition, filed in December by Judge Randy Koschnick, director of state courts, seeks to amend a number of Supreme Court rules and Wisconsin statutes pertaining to the use of videoconferencing technology. If there ever was a no-brainer for a change…