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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

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

There is a saying that you cannot be a little bit pregnant. Well, apparently, you can be a little married.

On June 8, 2021, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals in Kemper Independence Insurance Company v. Islami, 2021 WI 53, 397 Wis.2d 394, 959 N.W. 2d 912. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not resolve the issue of most practical importance to divorce practitioners: What is the difference between a divorce and
Continue Reading Being a Little Married: Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Nothing in our legal system is more important than judges.

Cases proceed (or don’t proceed) and resolve largely on the basis of the individual proclivities of the person wearing the robe. A good judge can make a complex, difficult case into a resolvable one and a bad judge can do the opposite. The judge sets the tone for civility and professionalism.

I can go on and on. One need only consider the independence of our judiciary during the challenges
Continue Reading Being Judgey: Why We Should Pick the Best Qualified Candidates for the Bench

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
Continue Reading The Gates Divorce: Proof Money Doesn’t Equal Happiness

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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:
Continue Reading CONTINGENT PLACEMENT: New law helps to rectify old misstep but doesn’t go far enough

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
Continue Reading Courts and Technology: Greater Embrace of Innovation Proves Pandemic Hasn’t Been All Bad

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
Continue Reading Why Attempts to Minimize Time with Third-party Caretakers Might not Always be in Children’s Best Interests

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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
Continue Reading LET’S STAY TOGETHER: Keeping a marriage intact in the time of COVID-19

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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)
Continue Reading LOOKING BACK ON A TOUGH YEAR: Appeals court doesn’t always hit mark with family law cases

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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
Continue Reading Proud of our courts

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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
Continue Reading Settlement Negotiation Techniques in Family Law 2nd Edition

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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
Continue Reading Court Didn’t Distinguish Itself with Family Law In 2020

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
Continue Reading Survey: More Training Needed For Negotiations Rather Than Litigation

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
Continue Reading Crafting Successful Settlement Agreements

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
Continue Reading Legal Separation and Insurance Contracts