Family & Divorce

De novo hearings allow a brand-new hearing on issues decided by court commissioners. Practitioners are not limited by the pleadings or evidence presented before the commissioner. De Novo hearings are a useful tool for practitioners to gain the best possible result for clients, especially if a client comes to you after attempting to handle their case pro se. What is a De Novo Hearing? De novo is Latin, meaning “from the new.” Black’s Law Dictionary defines a de novo hearing as a “new hearing of a matter, conducted as if the original hearing had not taken place.”1 A court…
The National Domestic Violence Hotline presents startling statistics about the existence and reality of domestic violence in the United States. One such statistic is that “On average, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States will experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.” The prevalence of domestic violence in the United States has only been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. The United Nations has labeled the rise in violence during COVID-19 a “shadow pandemic”. If you need guidance in filing an order of protection, contact Kowalski Family Law LLC. Our…
On April 6, 2018, the Wisconsin Legislature revised the involuntary ground for termination of parental rights based on continuing need of protection or services (continuing CHIPS). The new Wis. Stat. section 48.415(2) modified the fourth element of the ground. Specifically, if a child had been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the petitioner is no longer required to prove that there was a substantial likelihood that the parent would not meet the conditions of return within nine months from the trial date. Pursuant to this change, the courts issued a revised form for Notice Concerning…
Each divorce case must begin with filing and service of the divorce petition on a spouse. This is generally not a problem, since most spouses know where to find each other. However, civilian spouses of servicemembers may not know the member’s exact location, particularly if the couple has been separated for some time. The civilian spouse does have some options in this case. You must have the servicemember’s name, social security number, and rank available. First, contact the “base locator” at the member’s last station. If the member remains at that station, his/her presence can be confirmed and service arranged.…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanDecember 23, 2020 Receiving advance copies of a book from a publisher is about as close as I will ever come to giving birth! There are certain similarities. There is (usually) a planning process, then a gestational period and finally a delivery. While the similarities may end there, it is still a great feeling. The American Bar Association Family Law Section has just published a second edition of my book, “Settlement Negotiation Techniques in Family Law: A Guide to Improved Tactics and Resolution”. This book…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanDecember 22, 2020 Photo Credit: State Bar of Wisconsin Typically, I end a year of columns with a review of the previous year. Well, there’s no way I’m going to review 2020 in general as it would require expletives not allowed in this publication. So instead, I’ll limit my review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which issued two opinions concerning family law this year – and has one case pending for next year. This also affords me one more kick at the Supreme Court cat. And,…
When you are getting a divorce, arriving at an agreement on the legal custody and physical placement of your children can be a challenging process as you try to prioritize your children’s best interests while balancing the needs of both parents. It is not uncommon for this process to continue even after the issuance of your child custody order, as the needs of everyone involved may change in the years following your divorce. If you find that the original order is no longer feasible or desirable, it may be time to pursue a modification. When Can Custody and/or…
The word “triage” is often used in a medical setting. Triage means to assess and then assign a degree of urgency to wounds or illness, to decide the order of treatment when there are a large number of patients, presumably more than can be helped at one time. Whether apt or not, some court systems have begun triaging cases as they are filed, including family cases. Given the large number of pro se litigants and the expectation for courts to do more with less, Wisconsin circuit courts could benefit from considering different ways of managing the flow of family cases…
Sharing physical custody of your children after a divorce can be a challenge throughout the year, but it is often especially difficult during the winter holidays. This year may be more difficult than ever as you balance your desire to spend time with family with the need to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this year and others, it is important that you and your children’s other parent have a plan to co-parent effectively during the holiday season. Suggestions for Holiday Co-Parenting If you consider the following suggestions, you may be able to take some stress out of co-parenting…
Several months ago, my friend, Dr. Ken Waldron, a (semi) retired psychologist from Madison, and I were discussing the importance to children of their divorcing parents peacefully settling their disputes when Ken noted the lack of empirical data on settlement negotiations. Well, that lack of data presented an opportunity for us to gather some. So Ken and I decided to conduct our own study. Although the title of our final product does not accurately describe our article, our work has now been published in the State Bar of Wisconsin publication, Wisconsin Lawyer: Gregg M. Herman and Kenneth H. Waldron, Beyond
Certain aspects of a servicemember’s pay may be taxable or tax-exempt. These distinctions must be considered when accurately establishing the servicemember’s net income for support purposes. Tax-exempt income includes the following: earnings received while the servicemember is in a combat zone. This exemption is on a month-to-month basis. If the member is in a combat zone for at least one day of the month, all income that month is tax-exempt. Bonuses, special pay, and re-enlistment pay received while in a combat zone are also tax-exempt. BAH (basic allowance for housing) and BAS (basic allowance for subsistence) Disability pay For maintenance…
As a parent, it is important for you to know that your children will continue to have a good life after your divorce. In part, this means making sure they will have the financial support that they need from both parents. Wisconsin law ensures that this is the case by including a child support order in any divorce involving minor children. Even so, it is reasonable to have questions and concerns about how the support order can affect you and your children. Understanding how child support payments are calculated can help to alleviate some of these concerns. Child Custody…
As family law practitioners, we frequently find ourselves handling cases involving domestic abuse. While issues of domestic abuse typically find relevance in determining custody and placement, Wisconsin’s address confidentiality program, Safe at Home,1 serves to protect victims’ privacy and safety. About the Confidential Address Program: Safe at Home Created by legislation in 2016 and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Safe at Home provides a “free mail-forwarding service that provides victims of actual or threatened abuse, stalking, trafficking, and/or those who fear for their physical safety with a legal substitute address to be used for public and private…
The Law Center, S.C., attorneys Kristi Baker and Sara Vanden Brook have been placed on Super Lawyer’s 2020 Rising Stars list, as top attorneys in the state for the practice of family law. Only 2.5 percent of attorneys in each state land on the final published Rising Stars list. The list includes attorneys that are 40 years old or younger or have been practicing law for 10 years or less. This is Sara’s third time on the Rising Stars list. Most legal professionals are familiar with Super Lawyers and hope to eventually be selected for a Super Lawyers list. Why…
This is the third part of my series – When Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney. This post is about problems with money. Money problems arise in many marriages and that alone is not a reason to get a divorce. However, if the issues with money persist and lead to a breakdown of the marriage such that you have considered filing for a divorce, then it is a really good idea to hire a divorce attorney to help you. First, money problems can come in many forms. It may be that your spouse is spending too much money. It could…
Adopting a child can make a huge difference in his or her life by providing a loving parent and a source of safety, support, and stability. That said, a successful adoption also requires a major commitment on the part of the parent, and that starts with making sure that you follow the appropriate legal procedures to make the adoption possible. Here are some important things to note about three common types of adoption to help you prepare for your adoption process: Wisconsin Step-Parent Adoptions If you have married someone who already has children, you may be able to proceed with…