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Can a Dad Win a Custody Battle in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

Many people erroneously believe that it’s tough for fathers to win custody battles in the state of Wisconsin. The truth is that fathers have just as good a chance at winning a custody fight as mothers do. This guide explains.

Why Do People Think Dads Can’t Win Custody Battles?

In the not-so-distant past, women were more likely to win physical placement of their children than men were. That wasn’t only true in Wisconsin; it was true all over the United States (and it’s still true in some places).

But times have certainly changed. Judges and the state of Wisconsin know that children benefit from having meaningful relationships with both their parents, and that men and women are equally capable of caring for children.

Related: How long does divorce take in Wisconsin?

What Good Attorneys Tell Their Clients (Dads and Moms) About Custody Battles

First things first: your attorney will most likely tell you that you should avoid a custody battle. The key word here is battle. There are several reasons for this – but the most important one is that duking things out with your former spouse isn’t healthy for your children.

Your attorney will most likely tell you that you should attempt to work out an agreement with your ex regarding placement and the amount of time you each spend with your children. That’s because, when you work together, you’re both likely to be reasonably satisfied with the outcome of your case. If you and your ex take it to court, the judge in your case will certainly do their best to be fair and do what’s right for your children. However, nobody knows your family like you and your ex do. That means you two are the best-qualified people to make decisions about child custody.

With that said, sometimes going to court is necessary. In some cases, it’s impossible to negotiate with the other party. If that’s your situation, you need an attorney who’s willing to fight hard for your rights and your children’s rights. And if you’re a dad, don’t stress – you have the same opportunity as your ex does to prove that you’re the right caregiver for your children.

Related: How to terminate someone’s parental rights in Wisconsin

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Placement and Custody?

If you need to speak to a lawyer about placement and custody, we’re here for you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation with an experienced attorney now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T11:31:52-05:00August 18th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on Can a Dad Win a Custody Battle in Wisconsin?

Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, parents typically have the right to raise their children however they feel is right. However, in some cases, grandparents have the right to visit their grandkids – even when one or both of the children’s parents don’t agree. Under Wisconsin law, grandparents (and some other people) are entitled to visitation.

Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights in Wisconsin?

In some cases, grandparents are entitled to visitation rights with their grandchildren. However, this doesn’t apply in all situations, and if you are a grandparent who wants visitation rights, you may need to go to court to get them.

But there’s a catch: If your grandparent who wants visitation with their grandchildren, it’s up to you to prove to the court that the children’s parents’ decision to deny you access runs counter to the children’s best interest. In plain English, it’s your job to prove that your grandkids’ parents are wrong for not letting you spend time with your grandchildren.

Parents deny visitation with grandparents for a wide range of reasons, but it’s up to you to show that spending time with you is what’s best for your grandkids. For example, if your child is deceased and their spouse won’t let you spend time with your grandchildren – provided that you already have an established relationship with them – you may be able to show the judge that you have a right to visitation.

Related: Do you have to continue paying alimony if your ex remarries?

What Kind of Visitation Rights Can You Get?

If you can show the court that time with you is in your grandkids’ best interest, the court may choose to grant you reasonable visitation rights. Naturally, “reasonable” is subjective. Though you may want to spend time with your grandchildren every weekend and for a few weeks out of the summer, that may not be reasonable in your case.

Related: How to terminate someone’s parental rights in Wisconsin

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Grandparents’ Visitation Rights?

If you are seeking visitation rights with your grandchildren, we may be able to help you. Our experienced family law attorneys we’ll be happy to provide you with the guidance and legal advice you need. Just call our office at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T11:42:05-05:00August 15th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights in Wisconsin?

How Does Wisconsin Divide Assets During Divorce?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

When you divorce your spouse, you’re both entitled to some of your belongings – but it may not be in the way that you think. Here’s what you need to know about how assets are divided in a divorce in Wisconsin.

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is a community property state, which means what you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage belongs to both of you. All your property – including both assets and debts – belong to both parties in your divorce, regardless of who paid for them.

Those assets have to be divided between you.

However, some assets are not divisible in divorce in Wisconsin. You don’t have to divide:

  • Property you brought into the marriage
  • Family heirlooms that have been passed down to you
  • Gifts you received during the marriage
  • Your inheritance
  • Things that are considered separate property through a valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement

Separate property – the assets you don’t have to divide – belongs only to its original owner. If your grandmother left you money during your marriage, for example, you most likely don’t have to divide it with your spouse. Likewise, if your spouse owned a house outright before your marriage, he or she most likely does not have to split it with you.

Related: What is a marital settlement agreement?

Splitting Your Property During Divorce

In the event of a divorce, couples are supposed to split community property. That means you’re each entitled to half. You don’t have to sell your assets and split the proceeds, though; you can trade things for equal value. For example, if you want the china cabinet and your spouse wants the toolbox, provided those things are very similar in value, it’s okay for you to take what you want with your spouse’s agreement.

Related: Wisconsin property division information

Do You Need to Talk to a Divorce Attorney About Property Division?

If you’re divorcing your spouse and need to talk to an attorney about property division, spousal support, child custody or anything else, we’re here for you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T14:02:47-05:00July 19th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on How Does Wisconsin Divide Assets During Divorce?

Do You Have to Keep Paying Alimony if Your Former Spouse Remarries?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, courts sometimes order one spouse to pay the other alimony (commonly called spousal support or spousal maintenance). Usually, spousal support is only payable under certain conditions, and the payer may stop paying if certain things happen. This guide explains whether you have to continue paying alimony after your former spouse remarries.

Do You Have to Keep Paying Alimony if Your Former Spouse Remarries?

Your obligation to pay your former spouse alimony ends if they remarry. That’s because the money you were supposed to pay was intended to ensure that your former spouse had an income source; the courts assume that when a person remarries, their new spouse becomes responsible for providing that income.

Related: Alimony laws in Wisconsin

What Should You Do to Modify Your Alimony Payments When Your Former Spouse Remarries?

One of the most common reasons people terminate alimony is the remarriage of a former spouse. When you are the payor, your attorney can petition the court to ask it to terminate your support order. Your attorney will cite a change in circumstances that makes the support unnecessary.

What if Your Former Spouse Only Moves in With Someone but Doesn’t Get Remarried?

It is possible to terminate a support order if your spouse moves in with someone without getting remarried. Your attorney can point out the change in your former spouse’s financial circumstances, particularly when the person you are spouse moves in with is capable of paying some of the bills and sharing some of the cost of living.

Related: Will alimony be awarded in my divorce?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Modifying Your Alimony Payments?

If your former spouse has remarried or moved in with someone, you may be able to modify your alimony payments or have them terminated altogether. The best way to learn about your options is to discuss you are situation with a family law attorney in Wisconsin. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation; if it’s easier, you can schedule a consultation with a family law attorney on our team online. We can give you the guidance you need to begin moving forward.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T14:11:29-05:00June 6th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on Do You Have to Keep Paying Alimony if Your Former Spouse Remarries?

How to Terminate Your Ex’s Parental Rights in Wisconsin

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, courts have the authority to terminate parental rights. However, that’s not an authority they take lightly – and it typically requires one of two things: A significant amount of proof that a parent is completely unfit or the parent’s consent to termination. In either case, it’s very difficult to terminate a person’s parental rights in Wisconsin. This guide explains.

When Will the Courts Consider Terminating a Person’s Parental Rights?

Courts in Wisconsin will only consider terminating a person’s parental rights in extreme circumstances. Even if the parent in question volunteers to give up their rights to a child, the courts don’t generally like to grant termination.

However, there are several grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights, including abandonment, child abuse, substance abuse or incarceration. If you are the parent requesting the termination, the burden of proving that the other parent is unfit lies with you.

Related: Termination of parental rights: The basics

How to Terminate Your Ex’s Parental Rights in Wisconsin

For most people, the simplest way to ask a court to terminate a parent’s rights to a child is to work through an attorney.

If you want to terminate your ex’s parental rights, your attorney will ask you several questions about why you’d like to do so – and what proof you have that supports the fact that your ex should lose rights to your child. You’ll need proof that demonstrates that the other party is unfit to parent your child. You also need to know that termination of parental rights is very rare, and the laws governing it are very specific.

In Wisconsin, every parent has fundamental rights to the care, control and custody of their children. When parental rights are terminated, those rights are destroyed; so is a child’s legal relationship with their biological parent. Termination of parental rights means that the child’s right to affiliate with extended family through that parent, such as grandparents, is also terminated because the legal connection to that family is dissolved.

Often, judges are also concerned with whether there is a fit stepparent who is willing to adopt the child if the court agrees to terminate a biological parents rights. Generally speaking, the state’s position is that it is better for children to grow up with two parents, even if one doesn’t qualify for a “Parent of the Year” award.

A Word on Abandonment

If your child’s other parent has effectively abandoned your child, you should discuss your situation with an attorney. Abandonment only occurs in very specific circumstances, and it’s often very complicated.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Termination of Parental Rights?

Now that you know it’s incredibly difficult to terminate another person’s parental rights, and that you must have significant proof in order for a court to even consider such a petition, you may wish to speak to a family law attorney who can give you the guidance you need. Please feel free to call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation; if it’s easier, you can also request a consultation online.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T20:55:04-05:00May 2nd, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on How to Terminate Your Ex’s Parental Rights in Wisconsin

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people contemplating divorce, you’ve heard of couples who have split quickly – and you’ve heard of couples whose divorces have taken years to complete. So how long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin, and do they all take the same amount of time? This guide walks you through the Wisconsin divorce timeline so you know what to expect.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Wisconsin?

Generally speaking, a typical divorce – one that doesn’t involve high assets or a lot of controversy – typically takes between six months and a year to complete. That doesn’t mean yours will fit neatly into that timeline, though. Every case is different, which means yours could take several months to a year (or more).

The absolute minimum amount of time is 120 days. The state requires you to go through a mandatory “cooling-off” period to help ensure that you really do want to go through with your divorce. During this time, you can’t have a final hearing; that prevents people from divorcing if they aren’t really positive that divorce is the best choice.

Related: What to know before you divorce your spouse

How Long Does it Take to File Divorce Paperwork?

If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to know that Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. That means only one of you has to agree to the divorce, and you don’t need to point the finger at anyone in order for a court to dissolve your marriage. All you have to do is let the court know that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Your attorney can fill out and file your divorce papers as soon as you’re ready. After the papers are filed with the court, the mandatory 120-day cooling-off period begins. During that time, your spouse will receive the paperwork and have the chance to respond.

Related: 10 tips for surviving divorce

How Long Does it Take to Finalize a Divorce in Wisconsin?

The court can’t finalize a divorce in Wisconsin until after the 120-day cooling-off period is over. (There are some circumstances in which the court can waive the cooling-off period, but they’re rare.)

In order to finalize your divorce, you must have a marital settlement agreement. The agreement has to be signed by both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and you must also have filed financial disclosure statements with the court. (Your attorney will do that for you.) You must also complete any court-mandated mediation or parenting classes before the judge in your case will finalize your divorce.

If you and your spouse agree on everything, including tough matters like child custody, your divorce will be finalized much faster than it would be if you disagreed. That’s because couples who can’t reach an agreement have to wait for time slots to open up on the court’s calendar – and they have to come up with evidence that supports their own positions.

Do You Need to Talk to a Wisconsin Lawyer About Divorcing Quickly?

If you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse, you should consult with an attorney. Attorneys who are looking out for their clients’ best interests want to get divorces over with quickly, with the best possible outcomes for their clients. We’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation for you – just call our office at 414-383-6700 now. We’ll talk to you about your situation and give you case-specific legal advice.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:03:14-05:00April 12th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Wisconsin?

The Best Books to Help Kids Through Divorce in 2022

By Carlos Gamino

Though there’s no substitute for talking to your kids about divorce, you can help them get through yours by offering them something good to read. Fortunately, there are plenty of good books on divorce (and that feature characters whose parents are divorcing) that can help your children understand what’s going on.

Mum and Dad Glue by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish

In Mum and Dad Glue, the main character wants to fix his parents’ relationship – but the book emphasizes that what’s happening isn’t the child’s fault and that kids can’t assume that responsibility. It also highlights that the kids (and their parents) will end up being okay.

I Have Two Homes by Marian De Smet and Nynke Talsma

I Have Two Homes centers on Nina, a girl who lives in both her parents’ separate houses. This uncomplicated look at what it’s like for kids with divorced parents is a must-read for kids age 4 and up.

Why Do Families Change?: Our First Talk About Separation and Divorce By Dr. Jillian Roberts

Child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts wrote Why Do Families Change?: Our First Talk About Separation and Divorceto help kids understand their places in their families during and after divorce – and to help them understand they’re not at fault.

Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce by Tamara Schmitz

Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce is about a regular kid whose parents are divorcing. The uplifting message of the book shows kids that no matter what, parents always love their children – and having two homes to live in can be wonderful.

Divorce Feels Yucky!: The Kids’ Secret to Feeling Better by Madison Lovato and Lucas Lovato

Divorce Feels Yucky!: The Kids’ Secret to Feeing Better is about a young pair of siblings who find out their parents are splitting up. The brother and sister help reassure readers that though divorce seems scary, kids can (and should) talk to their parents and other trusted adults about what they’re feeling.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Divorce?

If you’re contemplating divorce, you’re not alone. We can help you through this difficult process so you’re free to focus on what’s most important: your children. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation – we can give you the legal advice (and the peace of mind) you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:13:49-05:00February 24th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on The Best Books to Help Kids Through Divorce in 2022

How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

By Carlos Gamino

Getting a restraining order may seem like a drastic step – but in many cases, it’s absolutely necessary. A restraining order can make the person who harmed or threaten you stop their dangerous behavior; it can require that person to stay away from you and to refrain from contacting you so that you don’t have to live in fear. But how do you get a restraining order in Wisconsin? This guide explains.

How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

Some people choose to work with an attorney to get a restraining order in Wisconsin. That way, the attorney handles all the legal paperwork associated with the process – and it’s one fewer thing to worry about if you’re already carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Related: What if you violate a restraining order in Wisconsin?

You must qualify for a restraining order if an adult has intentionally caused you physical pain, injury or illness; impaired your physical condition; sexually abused you; threatened to physically or sexually harm you; or harassed you. You may also file for a restraining order on behalf of an individual at risk (an adult with a condition that impairs their ability to care for themselves or a person 60 or over who is being abused or neglected), as well as on behalf of a child in some cases (to protect the child from physical, mental or sexual abuse).

Related: Women accused of domestic violence

Kinds of Wisconsin Restraining Orders

There are four main types of restraining orders in Wisconsin:

  1. Domestic abuse restraining orders
  2. Harassment restraining orders
  3. Restraining orders on behalf of individuals at risk
  4. Restraining orders on behalf of abused children

If you’re not sure which type applies to your situation, you should speak to an attorney about your case. Your lawyer can give you the advice and guidance you need.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin?

We may be able to help you protect yourself or someone else through a restraining order. Call our office now at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation; we’ll answer your questions and advise you.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-01-28T13:10:01-06:00January 7th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on How to Get a Restraining Order in Wisconsin

Who Gets the Pets in a Wisconsin Divorce Case?

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

If you’re like many pet parents getting a divorce in Wisconsin, one of your primary concerns is what will happen to your four-, two- or no-legged family members. Pet custody is a real thing, and it’s been gaining steam across the U.S. – but what about Wisconsin? This guide explains pet custody and who gets the pets in a Wisconsin divorce.

Who Gets the Pets in a Wisconsin Divorce Case?

In the state of Wisconsin, pets are considered personal property. That means one of you – you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse – will typically be awarded the pets. However, judges are permitted to honor agreements that you and your ex make about pet visitation and custody.

Related: What to know before you get a divorce

If you and your ex can’t agree on what should happen with your pets, it makes sense to go to mediation to find common ground. There, you can reach an agreement that details the terms of your pet custody arrangement; you can even agree on who’s financially responsible for the pet, and which of you has the right to make major decisions regarding your pet’s health and well-being (including euthanasia when the time comes).

When you and your spouse reach an agreement about your pets, the court will likely incorporate it into your final judgment. That means the terms you agreed to become legally binding (and enforceable).

If you cannot agree, you may ask the judge to listen to evidence from both sides – including testimony on your bond with your pet, how much you’ve contributed to its care and upbringing, and who should be responsible for financial obligations related to the pet.

However, this all depends on the judge. Some judges only see pets as personal property and nothing more. If that happens in your case, provided that you and your spouse haven’t reached an agreement, the judge will determine where the pet goes.

Related: Divorce survival tips

Pro Tip: If you have children, you can treat the pet as the children’s property and determine that the family pet should go where the children go. The pet will visit with each parent at the same time as the kids do.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Pet Custody?

If you’re a divorcing pet parent, we may be able to help you. Although there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule, we can help you and your pet get the best possible outcome. Contact us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with a Wisconsin divorce lawyer now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-11-23T11:43:13-06:00October 20th, 2021|Family Law|Comments Off on Who Gets the Pets in a Wisconsin Divorce Case?

What Happens if You Don’t Make Alimony Payments in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, the judge in your divorce case has ordered you to pay alimony – sometimes called spousal support or spousal maintenance – to your former spouse. But what happens if you don’t pay alimony in Wisconsin? Will the courts come after you, garnish your wages, or hit you with criminal penalties? This guide explains.

What if You Don’t Pay Alimony in Wisconsin?

When a judge orders you to pay alimony, whether it’s through a stand-alone order (such as one issued during divorce proceedings) or through your marital settlement agreement, you have to do so – it’s a legally binding order.

If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain and make your alimony payments, your former spouse can bring up the matter with the judge in your case. The judge can then choose to order you to pay any outstanding amounts or order that you sell securities to make your payments. The judge might also enter a contempt of court order or order your employer to garnish your wages, as well.

What is a Contempt of Court Order?

If your ex’s attorney files a contempt motion, you’ll have to appear in court for a hearing. At your hearing, both you and your ex will have the opportunity to explain what’s going on. If the judge finds that you purposely avoided paying your alimony, they can order you to go to jail until you’ve paid the past-due amount in full. The judge can even order you to pay fines and your ex’s legal fees for having to take you to court to get payment.

Garnished Wages for Alimony

The judge may order your employer to take part of your earnings and send them to the court before you get your paychecks. The court gives that money to your ex-spouse.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Non-Payment of Alimony?

Whether your ex is accusing you of purposely failing to make your alimony payments or you’re the spouse who is supposed to receive them, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:15:48-05:00September 1st, 2021|Family Law|Comments Off on What Happens if You Don’t Make Alimony Payments in Wisconsin?

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