Hawley, Kaufman & Kautzer, S.C

Hawley, Kaufman & Kautzer, S.C Blogs

Latest from Hawley, Kaufman & Kautzer, S.C

A proceeding to terminate the parental rights (TPR) of one or both parents is initiated by preparing and filing a petition, summons and a notice. The petition is the document that identifies the people involved, including the child, and the grounds to terminate the right of one or both of the parents. Think of “grounds” as the reason for filing the petition. The summons and notice are the documents in which the parents and other parties are notified of
Continue Reading Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDROs) is a court order that divides an individual’s retirement plans between themselves and their former spouse. The order is presented to the plan administrator and instructs how the plan should be divided between the member and the member’s spouse, often referred to a “alternate payee”. The QDRO is required by the plan administrator in order for it to deviate from the requirement that the member receive benefits from their retirement plan and instead
Continue Reading Qualified Domestic Relation Orders in divorces. What are they and why they matter

In an action for divorce and any other family action, the parties are required to submit a full financial disclosure. The court is actually required by law to order the parties involved to file the disclosure. This disclosure includes all assets owned separately or jointly between the parties in a divorce. The statute defines “assets” as real estate, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, mortgages and notes, life insurance, retirement interests, interest in a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation,
Continue Reading Financial Disclosures to the Court

When a Court enters a final judgment for legal custody and physical placement it can be very difficult to modify it within the first two years of the order. There is a preference to maintain consistency for the children and the family during that time. There is also a presumption that what the court ordered is in the child’s best interest so there is a high burden to show that it should be changed. There are two standards that
Continue Reading Modifying Custody and Physical Placement Orders

When the court makes an order on custody and placement, all of its consideration must be related to the best interest of the child. The court is prohibited from preferring one parent over the other on the basis of sex or gender. Separate from limited circumstances the court must consider several factors when determining the appropriate custody and placement arrangement. Wisconsin statute section 767.41(5) lists the factors for the court to consider and those factors are listed below:

Continue Reading Factors to Consider when Ordering Custody and Placement

Terminating maintenance is a tall task for attorneys in Wisconsin because a termination of maintenance is permanent. To terminate maintenance, attorneys must show that the purposes or goals of maintenance, fairness and support, are no longer being accomplished under the circumstances confronting the parties at the time of termination. In termination cases, the courts will consider the style of living that the parties enjoyed during the marriage, the current income of the parties, and the assets of the parties.
Continue Reading Maintenance Termination and Hidden Assets

You went out last night to have a few drinks and an out of control patron assaulted you causing you to incur thousands of dollars in medical bills—who is liable for your injuries?

Of course, the individual who assaulted you is likely a target for any lawsuit. However the perpetrator may be judgment proof and the bar may be the only entity you can recover from.

While bars in Wisconsin enjoy broad immunity from liability for overserving patrons
Continue Reading Bar Fights and Third-Party Liability

Wisconsin Statutes allow the court discretion to order maintenance—often also referred to as alimony or spousal support—in cases for annulment, divorce or legal separation. The statutes do not define a strict formula for courts to rely upon as to when maintenance should be ordered. There are, however, factors for the court to consider which are outline below and included in Wis. Stat. 767.56(1c).

Courts may grant maintenance for a limited or indefinite period after considering:

  • The length of the

Continue Reading Maintenance in Wisconsin: When and how is it ordered?

While the court is required to order support, it can deviate from the standard factors if determines that the percentage standard is unfair the child or either of the parties. The court is obligated to state in writing or on the record during a hearing the reason for an unfairness finding, the reason for the modification and the amount of support should be ordered.

Those factors that the court shall consider are found in Wisconsin Statute 767.511(1m), but will
Continue Reading Child Support Deviations from Standard Factors

In many family law cases it may become necessary for the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation relating to custody and placement. A guardian ad litem is a licensed attorney who has completed at least the minimum training to serve as an advocate for the best interests of children. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed in cases where are allegations of domestic abuse in the relationship.

In cases
Continue Reading Working with a guardian ad litem in family law cases

Pursuant to 767.511 of the Wisconsin Statutes when the court enters a judgment for annulment, divorce, legal separation or an order regarding paternity, it must order one or both of the parties to pay reasonable child support. Child support is paid from one parent to the other and is intended to finically support the expenses for the child or children for food, clothing, housing, utilities, transportation and personal care and healthcare. The parties may come to an agreement for
Continue Reading Child Support Standard Orders and Obligations

Guardian Ad Litems are appointed by courts in custody and placement disputes to help educate the court on what placement and custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child or children. When determining if an arrangement is in the best interests, the Guardian Ad Litem will look at 16 factors. Those factors are enumerated in Wis. Stat. Sect. 767.41(5). None of the factors discuss firearms.

In the absence of any direction on how to handle firearms, firearm
Continue Reading Firearms and the Best Interests of the Children: Can a Guardian Ad Litem Take My Guns?

In divorces involving minor children two of the biggest concerns for parents are custody and placement of the children. Both terms are easily incorrectly used interchangeably so it is important to explain the differences between the two and what they mean.

Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions concerning the child. Those major decisions include the right to consent to marriage, the right to consent to a child entering military service, obtaining a driver’s license,
Continue Reading Placement or Custody?

Deciding whether to file for a divorce can be an emotional and difficult decision for people to make, especially when there are young children involved. Many people are likely left without direction or knowing how to start the processes. There are a few basic guidelines for a divorce that are imposed by the legislature, dictating where a petition for divorce should be filed, the grounds for obtaining a divorce and how quickly the divorce may be granted.

In order
Continue Reading Divorce Basics in Wisconsin

Generally speaking, the answer to this question is yes; a parent can refuse to accept child support. Most courts encourage parents to cooperate with each other and will not stand in the way of any agreements the parents reach, however, there are some exceptions to this rule. The main exception is if the child support agency is a party to your case. In that event, the agency will also need to agree with whatever arrangement you and your ex
Continue Reading Can You Refuse To Accept Child Support?