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milwaukee child support lawyerBy: Attorney Megan Drury and Paralegal Ali Jaeger

In many divorce and family law cases, child support is one of the most important matters that will need to be addressed. Determining child support obligations can be a daunting task for parents, and balancing financial responsibility with the child's best interests is an ever-evolving challenge. As parents address these issues, they will need to understand the types of expenses that child support will cover, including the "variable costs" and medical expenses that may be added to a child support order.

What Are Variable Costs?

In Wisconsin, parents' financial obligations toward their children are determined by the state's child support guidelines, which calculate child support amounts based on the number of children and each parent's income. Wisconsin uses a "percentage of income" standard in which a non-custodial parent's income is multiplied by a specific percentage corresponding to their number of children to determine the amount of child support they will be required to pay. This standard is used in non-shared-placement cases where children will primarily live with one parent. However, in shared-placement cases where children will be living with each parent at least 92 days per year or 25% of the time, the percentages may be applied to both parents' incomes, and each parent's obligations will be adjusted based on the percentage of time the children spend with the other parent.

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milwaukee child support lawyerBy: Attorney Megan Drury and Paralegal Ali Jaeger

If you are a parent who receives child support in Wisconsin, these payments may be essential for ensuring that you can provide for your children's ongoing needs. Unfortunately, enforcement of child support orders put in place by a court is often necessary in cases where non-custodial parents fall behind on payments. The good news is that there are several different ways to enforce a child support order in Wisconsin. 

Child Support Enforcement Actions Available in Wisconsin

When child support is past-due, the recipient may bring this matter to the attention of the court, or they may work with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to collect what is owed. Notably, Wisconsin law requires interest to be charged on child support that has not been paid. When the total amount of child support that is past-due exceeds the amount that a parent is required to pay in a single month, a 0.5 percent interest charge will apply to the amount owed. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_adam.JPGBy: Attorney Adam Schleis

For a parent, few things are worse than the prospect of losing custody of their children. Unfortunately, there are some situations where a parent may be accused of child abuse or where school officials or other parties may be concerned that a child is at risk of harm. In these cases, Wisconsin Child Protective Services (CPS) may initiate a child in need of protective services (CHIPS) action. Children may be temporarily removed from their parents’ home, and parents will be notified that they will be required to appear in court to address the allegations. 

These situations can be incredibly disturbing, and parents may worry that they could permanently lose custody of their children. To ensure that their rights will be protected, parents will need to understand the procedures that will be followed in these cases, and with the help of a children’s court attorney, they can take steps to resolve these matters with minimal disruptions to their lives.

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milwaukee prenuptial agreement lawyerBy:  Attorney Max StephensonA prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be a great way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce. These types of agreements serve as contracts between couples, and they will usually address how financial issues and other concerns related to a couple's property will be handled if their marriage ends. A prenup or postnup can specify that certain assets are community property or separate property, and a couple can make decisions about how their property will be divided. Other issues can also be addressed in these agreements, such as whether one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. 

While marital agreements can be very beneficial, ensuring that a couple can protect their financial interests and minimize conflict if they do choose to get divorced, a prenup or postnup may lead to additional complications during the divorce process if a couple disagrees about the terms of an agreement or if one spouse claims that an agreement is invalid. To avoid these issues, it is important to make sure a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable when it is created.

Issues Affecting Enforceability of Marital Agreements

Wisconsin law details several reasons why a prenup or postnup may be found to be unenforceable:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_first-refusal-grgb.JPGBy: Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Ali Jaeger

Parents who choose to divorce or separate will need to address a wide variety of issues related to child custody. These include what is commonly known as legal custody, which covers major decision-making for the child, and physical custody or physical placement, which determines where the child will live. Along with major decisions detailing how parents will work together to raise their children and when they spend time with their children on a day-to-day basis, they may need to address exceptions to these rules and variances from these plans. One issue that may be raised in these situations is the right of first refusal.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

As parents provide care for their children, situations may arise in which one parent will not be available during the time they are scheduled to have physical placement or visitation. In these cases, the other parent may feel that it would be better for children to be in the care of a parent rather than another caretaker, such as a babysitter, a grandparent, or a step-parent. This is where the right of first refusal comes in. This right will ensure that if a parent is ever going to be unavailable during a time when they are scheduled to have the children stay with them, they must contact the other parent and offer them the chance to take the children. Other childcare arrangements may only be made if the other parent refuses to provide care.

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