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4 Forms of Child Abuse and Neglect

By Tedia Gamino

According to a report from the CDC, 1,750 children in the U.S. died from abuse and neglect in 2020, and in the past year 1 in every 7 children were neglected or abused. A majority of abuse and neglect cases, though, are not reported and these unfortunate figures could be much higher. Children may suffer the abuse of parents and caregivers, and custodians like teachers, coaches, and religious leaders.

There are typically four forms of abuse and neglect:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse
  4. Neglect—unmet needs

Understanding the signs of each type of abuse and neglect can help you know when a child is in trouble. We’ll dive deeper into each.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is intentionally using force that can cause physical injury. The most common examples of physical abuse include shaking, kicking, hitting, and even burning.

Common signs of physical abuse include:

  • Injuries that form the shape of an object
  • Bruises and welts
  • Burns
  • Fearing to go home; fear of parents
  • Delayed medical attention
  • Fractures that don’t coincide with an explanation
  • Behavioral extremes; very withdrawn or very aggressive

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is when a child is forced or pressured to participate in sexual acts. This includes penetration, fondling, and other sexual activities.

A child who’s sexually abused may show these signs:

  • Itchy, swelling, or pain in the genital region
  • Discharge, bleeding, and bruising in the genital area
  • Venereal disease
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • Pain when urinating
  • Bloody or stained undergarments
  • An interest in sex that’s unusual for their age
  • School delinquency
  • Running away from home

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse involves acts that affect a child’s emotional well-being and self-worth. Oftentimes these acts include threatening, name-calling, withholding love, rejecting, and shaming.

Emotionally-abused children often show the following signs:

  • Self-denigration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Severe depression
  • Failure to learn
  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Unusual aggression  

Signs of Neglect

Neglect is when a child’s emotional and physical needs are not met. Such needs include food, clothing, housing, and access to medical care and education. Neglect can also mean failing to validate and appropriately respond to a child’s feelings.

Common signs of child neglect include:

  • A lack of supervision for long periods, and being left alone
  • Poor hygiene
  • Failure to go to school; frequent absences
  • Malnutrition; constant hunger
  • A lack of medical attention
  • Being inappropriately dressed for the weather

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Child Abuse or Child Neglect Charges?

If you’ve been charged with child abuse or child neglect, call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys who can provide the guidance you need.

By Attorney Tedia Gamino

By |2022-11-19T10:16:40-06:00December 20th, 2022|Criminal Law, Family Law, Juvenile Law|Comments Off on 4 Forms of Child Abuse and Neglect

How to Handle a Timeshare Property in a Divorce Settlement

By Attorney Tedia Gamino

Like all marital property involved in a divorce settlement a timeshare is subject to division between you and your soon-to-be ex. So what are your options to reach an equitable agreement? You may decide to sell the timeshare, share it with your spouse, or have them buy you out.

Selling Your Timeshare

Neither you nor your spouse may want to take full ownership of your timeshare if it means shouldering the balance of a mortgage and paying an annual maintenance fee—which may increase with time. In this case it may be best to sell the property and divide any proceeds. There is a possibility, though, that your timeshare has depreciated, so a sale won’t result in a profit.

Some real estate brokers may take on timeshare resales, and there is a substantial timeshare reseller market where you may find an interested private buyer, but be leery of brokers that charge upfront fees. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlines red flags for consumers to watch out for when selling through a broker.

Be aware that many timeshare developers include a Right of first refusal (ROFR) clause in their contracts. ROFR gives the developer the opportunity to buy back your timeshare directly from you before you’re able to sell it to a third-party buyer on the resale market.

Sharing Your Timeshare

Because you have a financial investment in your timeshare, and likely enjoy the vacation venues it affords, you may be open to sharing it with your soon-to-be ex. Sharing your timeshare may help you avoid a financial loss you might otherwise incur if you sell it. Sharing the property, however, means you will have to maintain some level of communication with your ex–so this option may be a good move only if you and your ex are on friendly terms.

If you plan to share your timeshare, there are many terms that need to be ironed out in the separation agreement, including: How will vacation weeks be divided? Who will receive business correspondence and bills? How will the mortgage and maintenance fees be split and paid, and what will happen if someone doesn’t pay their portion? Answers to these types of questions should be detailed in your separation agreement.

Buying Out Your Spouse

If you want to be the sole owner of your timeshare, and your spouse is in agreement, you will need to effectuate a buyout by either giving your soon-to-be ex a cash amount, or another asset, that amounts to half of the value of the timeshare. So, how much is your timeshare worth? In some instances you may need to have it appraised.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About How to Handle a Timeshare Property in a Divorce Settlement?

If you’re divorcing and you need guidance through the process, call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced divorce lawyers who can provide the help you need.

By Attorney Tedia Gamino

By |2022-11-18T21:06:58-06:00December 15th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on How to Handle a Timeshare Property in a Divorce Settlement

Is it Possible to Get Guardianship of a Sibling in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you’ve heard of guardianship – that’s what it’s called when an adult takes responsibility for another person. The adult taking responsibility is called the guardian, and the other person is called the ward.

Sometimes, it’s possible to get guardianship of a sibling. This may happen when your parents aren’t able to properly care for your brother or sister, or when your parents are deceased. In order to get custody of your sibling, you must apply for guardianship.

Guardianship of a Sibling in Wisconsin: The Basics

There are two main types of guardianship available in Wisconsin. Guardianship for minors is only for children under the age of 18, while guardianship of incompetent adults is for anyone who’s at least age 17 years and nine months.

If your sibling is a child, you need to pursue guardianship for minors; if they’re an adult who can’t care for themselves, your attorney will suggest that you pursue guardianship of an incompetent adult.

Related: What you need to know about grandparents’ visitation rights in Wisconsin

What is a Guardian of a Minor Responsible For?

As a guardian, you are responsible for making decisions, giving consent and advocating for your sibling. It’s up to you to care for your brother or sister when you become their legal guardian. It’s also your job to enroll them in school, provide them with shelter and ensure that they’re healthy. Essentially, you take on the role of parent – at least in a legal sense.

Related: Can dads win custody battles in Wisconsin?

How to Get Guardianship of Your Young Sibling

It may be in your best interest to work with an attorney to get guardianship of your minor sibling. That’s because in order for a judge to agree that your parents – if they’re living – are unfit to parent your sibling, you need to provide a significant amount of proof. Judges don’t take guardianship decisions lightly.

If your parents are deceased, your attorney will be able to give you the guidance you need on getting guardianship of your sibling.

Related: What is elder guardianship in Wisconsin?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Getting Guardianship of Your Sibling?

If you need to get guardianship of your sibling in Wisconsin, you should speak with a family law attorney who understands how the law works and how to start the process. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation with someone who may be able to help you.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-09-02T11:49:56-05:00October 25th, 2022|Elder Law, Family Law, Guadianship Law|Comments Off on Is it Possible to Get Guardianship of a Sibling in Wisconsin?

Who Decides on Placement When a Couple Disagrees?

By Carlos Gamino

In the state of Wisconsin, child custody and visitation – called placement – are some of the hottest issues of many divorces. often, parents have a hard time seeing eye to eye on where their children should live, when their children should visit each parent and which parent is responsible for what tasks. Usually, by the end of a divorce proceeding, couples have reached some sort of agreement – but what happens when they can’t?

Who Decides on Placement When a Couple Disagrees?

First things first: It’s typically best for children when their parents reached their own agreements about custody and placement. Parents know their children best; you know what they need to thrive.

But sometimes it’s impossible to reach an agreement with your children’s other parent. In cases like these, judges order parents to meet with a mediator at least one time. During mediation, a trained professional will try to find common ground between you and your children’s other parent.

If mediation fails, sometimes a social worker or guardian ad litem (a person working in the kids’ best interest) give their input after conducting in-depth studies. If you and your children’s other parent still don’t agree, the court will schedule a hearing.

During the hearing, the parents, social worker and guardian ad litem present evidence. The judge reviews everything and makes a decision.

Related: Can dads win custody battles in Wisconsin?

Why Don’t You Want to Let the Court Decide on Placement?

Most parents don’t want the courts to decide on placement. Though you can generally rely on a judge to make a decision that’s best for the children involved, the fact is that the process is long and time-consuming. In fact, it may take several months (or more) for the entire process to play out. That’s tough on you and your children – and it’s expensive.

Related: What you need to know about grandparents’ visitation rights in Wisconsin

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Child Placement?

If you and your spouse are having a hard time agreeing on child custody and placement, you may benefit from talking to an attorney. Your attorney can give you the guidance you need when it comes to compromising with your children’s other parent, as well as fight for your kids’ best interests when necessary. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation with an experienced professional who can give you the guidance you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-09-02T11:41:04-05:00October 20th, 2022|Family Law|Comments Off on Who Decides on Placement When a Couple Disagrees?

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?

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