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Milwaukee child custody lawyerBy: Attorney Megan Drury

In divorce and family law cases, parents may need to address a variety of issues related to child custody. While there are some cases where parents may agree on how custody of their children will be handled, disputes often arise between parents, and it can be difficult to determine the best ways to resolve these issues. In some cases, a guardian ad litem may be appointed. Parents will need to understand the role this person will play in their case and the best steps they can take to protect their parental rights and ensure that they will be able to provide for their children’s best interests.

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

When parents disagree about how to handle child custody, it can be difficult for a judge to determine how to make decisions that will protect children’s best interests. The parents and their attorneys may make arguments based on their desires, their claims of what has happened in the past, and their individual beliefs about what is best for their children. However, evaluating the accuracy of parents’ claims, understanding the biases they bring to a case, and determining how emotions may color parents’ attitudes is not always easy. To more fully evaluate the situation, a judge may seek help from other parties.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Meganweb.jpgBy: Attorney Megan Drury

Parents may need to address issues related to child custody in a variety of situations, although this is most often a factor in divorce cases. Most of the time, parents will be able to share custody of children. Joint legal custody will allow both parents to be involved in decisions about how their children should be raised. Shared physical custody (known as physical placement in Wisconsin) will ensure that children will be able to spend reasonable amounts of time with both parents. However, there may be some situations where joint legal custody may not be appropriate, and if there are potential risks to children’s safety and well-being, certain types of restrictions regarding physical placement may be put in place.

Joint Legal Custody vs. Sole Legal Custody

In Wisconsin, family courts presume that it is in children’s best interests for parents to share joint legal custody. This will ensure that parents can cooperate to raise their children and work together to make decisions about important issues such as where children will go to school, which doctors will provide medical care, and the religion that children will be raised in. However, there may be some situations where a court may determine that it would be in children’s best interests for one parent to have sole legal custody. These include cases where a parent is incapable of performing parental responsibilities, such as when they have a serious illness or disability, as well as situations where a parent is not interested in maintaining an active and continuing role in raising their children. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Meganweb.jpgBy: Attorney Megan Drury

Many people consider marriage to be a partnership. When a couple gets married, they will often combine their finances, and the income they earn and the property they purchase will be considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. Even if a couple wishes to keep their finances separate, they will need to be aware that any property they acquire during their marriage will generally be considered marital property. This property will need to be divided between the spouses if they choose to get a divorce

To address this issue, or to protect assets that either spouse owned before they were married, a couple may choose to create a prenuptial agreement. By understanding what this type of agreement (commonly referred to as a “prenup”) can and cannot do, a couple can make sure they are prepared to protect their financial interests as they plan for their marriage.

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milwaukee adoption lawyerBy: Attorney Megan Drury

Same-sex couples and those who are in the LGBTQ community have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. These include the right to get married, to end a marriage through divorce, or to grow their family by having children. In many cases, these couples will look to adopt children, and when planning to do so, they will need to understand their options and the procedures that will need to be followed.

Types of Adoption for Same-Sex Couples

The adoption process allows someone other than a biological parent to become a child’s legal parent. Same-sex spouses and other LGBTQ families may have multiple options for adopting a child, including:

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milwaukee parenting plan lawyerThere are a variety of issues that will need to be addressed during a couple’s divorce, and in cases where married spouses have children together, they will need to determine how child custody will be handled going forward. Couples are encouraged to work together to reach agreements on these matters, but they may encounter disagreements over a variety of issues related to how their children will be raised or how they will share physical placement. In these situations, each parent may submit a proposed parenting plan. By looking at the differences between the parents’ proposals, a court may be able to help resolve disputes and find solutions that will work for all parties involved. In these situations, parents will need to understand the issues that a proposed parenting plan will address.

Details Addressed in a Proposed Parenting Plan

If a couple will be participating in divorce mediation, each party will be required to submit a proposed parenting plan to the mediator at least 10 days before their first mediation session. If spouses are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, or if the court waives their mediation requirements, the parents will be required to submit proposed parenting plans to the court. These submissions must be made within 60 days after the mediator informs the court that the couple could not reach an agreement or after the date the mediation requirement was waived. If a parent does not submit a proposed plan, they will not be able to contest the plan submitted by the other parent.

A proposed parenting plan will address the following:

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