Latest from Family Law Update

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…
Some things sound better on paper than they turn out to be in real life. One example is a notion called the right of first refusal, or ROFR, which is intended to maximize the time a minor child spends with a parent rather than with a third party. On the surface, the ROFR makes sense. After all, it’s generally preferable for children to spend more time with a parent than a third party. But life tends to play out differently. A recent unpublished court of appeals case, which is citeable for its persuasive value, illustrates the difficulty with this idea.…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanMarch 1, 2021 At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the prevailing “wisdom” was that divorce filings would substantially increase. Actually, the opposite occurred. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, ABC News reported: A wave of divorce filings is expected to break across the country when COVID-19 confinement ends, according to several divorce attorneys. Or according to Law.com: “With courts remaining closed through June 12, there will be pent-up demand for divorces as well as modifications of child support and custody and contempt.” Or…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanFebruary 3, 2021 Last month, I took a look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions in family law in the past year. It was not a good report card. How did the court of appeals do in my never-humble estimation? Well, there weren’t a lot of cases, but let’s take a look back at a few that were of importance. There were only two (sigh) cases with family-law issues published by the court of appeals in 2020. In Kemper Independence Insurance Company,v. Islami, No. 2019AP488
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanJanuary 28, 2021 After many years of writing articles on Family Law for the Wisconsin Law Journal, I’ve been asked to expand my repertoire to include other areas of law on occasion. So, while I will continue to write on family law issues, as someone who has opinions on just about everything, this was a request which I was delighted to accept. My intent will be to discuss interesting and sometimes controversial topics. So if you disagree, let me know! And I welcome any ideas for…
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,…
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
Editor’s Note: The following column appeared in the November 2020 edition of Wisconsin Lawyer Magazine. To read the full article, please see link below. Divorce lawyers have a saying that a bad settlement beats a good trial. If true, a good settlement beats all. Settlements are golden, as they allow creativity in developing a case-specific settlement plan, often including provisions that would not be ordered by a court if the case went to litigation. This is particularly important in family law cases in which the parties will have a continuing relationship with one another, most commonly regarding children (minors and…
The Wisconsin Supreme Court now has an opportunity to clarify an area of family law which very much needs clarifying. Although I’ve recently criticized the court for accepting review in two cases in which the court of appeals had made perfectly fine decisions (Miller v. Carroll, 2020 WI 56 and Pulkkila v. Pulkkila, 2020 WI 34) – and issuing decisions of little help to practitioners in both cases – the court has now agreed to take another look a case that presents one particular issue that could actually use review. A “Little Married” In Kemper Independence Insurance
One of the most common questions clients ask me is: “When do the children get to make the decision as to placement?” Unlike some states which provide specific ages, Wisconsin has some statutes that merely make the wishes of the child one of a large number of factors which courts are to take into account. Wis. Stats. §767.41(5)(2). A recent unpublished, but citeable, Court of Appeals decision makes an interesting (in want of a better word) comment regarding this issue. In many cases, when a child’s age is at one end of the spectrum, the answer is obvious. Children who…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications By Attorney Gregg HermanAugust 28, 2020 On June 16, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued its opinion in Miller v. Carroll, 2020 WI 56, a case involving a judge’s decision to accept a Facebook friend request from a mother in a custody and placement dispute. Four justices joined the majority opinion, from Justice Rebecca Dallett, excluding one footnote. Three of the justices in the majority filed concurring decisions, including Dallett who concurred with her own opinion (huh?). Justice Brian Hagedorn filed a dissenting opinion, most of which was…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications In this Issue … A Word from Gregg HermanNew Cases Wisconsin Courts UpdatesJudge on Facebook case, prenup case, change in placement case AdoptionDelays Mediation News“5 Signs Mediation Won’t Work for Your Divorce”, Family Violence and Family Mediation – Can the Two Go Together?” and “Divorce During Coronavirus: Will Splits Soar After Pandemic Quarantines End?” • • • A Word from Gregg Herman … After complaining about no family law cases from either the Wisconsin Supreme Court or the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, when it rains…
On June 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued their opinion in Miller v. Carroll, 2020 WI 56, which affirmed the published decision of the Court of Appeals. Four justices joined the majority opinion, authored by Justice Dallett, except for one footnote. Three of the justices in majority filed concurring decisions, including Justice Dallett who concurred with her own opinion (huh?). Justice Hagedorn filed a dissenting opinion, most of which was joined by two other justices. Facebook Friend Request The facts involved a circuit court judge who accepted a Facebook friend request from the mother in a custody/placement…
In the movie “A Marriage Story,” a female lawyer (played by Laura Dern, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) is incredibly compassionate toward her client, saying she will move forward with the divorce, “as gently as possible.” But when the husband goes to meet with his prospective male attorney, the attorney immediately starts laying out an aggressive plan that will let them “win” the case. When the attorneys meet, the male attorney, played by Ray Liotta, yells and tries to speak over the female attorney. However, the female attorney uses her social intuition to read her counterpart’s…
Categories Categories Archives Family Law Videos WI Court Opinions Legal Publications In this Issue … A Word from Gregg HermanSilver linings? Wisconsin Courts UpdatesEnforcement more than 20 years after the divorce, legal separation AdoptionCoronavirus impact on surrogacy arrangements • • • A Word from Gregg Herman … Until this crisis is over (not soon enough!), I’ll continue to publish FLU monthly with any new cases or other family law news. Thanks to Steve Hayes for continuing his contributions on adoption and the effects of the pandemic. Are there any silver linings in this very dark cloud?…