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Milwaukee, WI family law attorney for step-parent and same-sex adoptionBy Attorney Max Stephenson

Adopting a child can make a huge difference in his or her life by providing a loving parent and a source of safety, support, and stability. That said, a successful adoption also requires a major commitment on the part of the parent, and that starts with making sure that you follow the appropriate legal procedures to make the adoption possible. Here are some important things to note about three common types of adoption to help you prepare for your adoption process:

Wisconsin Step-Parent Adoptions

If you have married someone who already has children, you may be able to proceed with a step-parent adoption to become their legal guardian. This is only possible if the children’s other biological parent is deceased or has had his or her parental rights terminated. During the process of a step-parent adoption, you may need to obtain consent to the termination of rights from the other parent, or you may need to demonstrate to the court that the other parent is unfit. You will then typically need to file a petition for adoption, submit to an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF), and attend a court hearing where the judge will rule on the adoption.

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee, WI criminal defense and family law attorneysBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Family Law Paralegal Courtney Hess

If you are facing criminal charges, you are likely concerned about the potential penalties, including fines and imprisonment. However, the impact a conviction may have on your parental rights regarding your current and future children can be equally concerning. Convictions for violent and sensitive crimes, in particular, can impact your relationship with your children, so it is important that you hire a skilled attorney who can help you defend against false, exaggerated, or unfair allegations.

Criminal Records and Child Custody in Wisconsin

One way that a criminal record can affect your parental rights in Wisconsin is in legal proceedings involving child custody and placement, including after a divorce or separation. When determining whether to award a parent sole or joint custody of a child, the court will consider first and foremost whether the decision is in the child’s best interests. If a parent has a history of child abuse, interspousal abuse, other forms of domestic abuse, or alcohol and drug abuse, the court may rule that the parent poses a risk to the child’s well-being, and it may award full custody to the other parent as a result. Relevant criminal convictions may be used as evidence to establish a parent’s history of abuse.

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee, WI divorce attorney for parental relocationBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Family Law Paralegal Courtney Hess

It may seem odd that the decision to move to a new location could belong to anyone other than yourself, but the fact is that after a divorce involving minor children, this is often the case. As frustrating as this may be, your relocation can affect not only your own life, but also your children’s other parent, and perhaps most importantly, your children. This does not mean that you can never move after your divorce, but it does mean that you will sometimes require legal approval to do so.

When Does Relocation Require Court Permission in Wisconsin?

Moving is a necessary part of almost any divorce, since at least one partner will have to find a new home after the separation. In Wisconsin, moves to a location within 100 miles of the other parent’s residence typically require no special approval. However, if you are planning to move 100 miles or more, you will need to follow the necessary procedures, which include:

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee child custody lawyer for virtual visitationBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess

If you are a divorced or single parent, you likely know the importance of outlining when and where your child will physically reside in your parenting agreement. Virtual visitation via electronic communication is perhaps a lesser-known component of a parenting agreement, but it can be a great option for children and parents for whom physical visitation is not always possible.

When Is Virtual Visitation a Good Idea?

Virtual visitation can occur via phone, video chat, text, email, or any other electronic means, and it can be useful in a variety of situations to allow children to regularly communicate and maintain relationships with their parents. Some examples of when you might consider virtual visitation include:

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Milwaukee, WI prenup attorneyBy Attorney Max Stephenson

Whether you are getting married for the first time or remarrying after a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can help you and your partner enter your marriage with a clear understanding of each other’s needs and interests regarding marital and non-marital property. Getting a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you believe a divorce is inevitable, but it is important that you go about the process of creating an agreement correctly to make sure that it is valid and enforceable if you do decide to divorce later on.

Creating an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement in Wisconsin

In most cases, the terms of a prenuptial agreement will be honored during the divorce process. However, actions during the process of creating the agreement may make some or all of a prenup’s terms unenforceable. If you want to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is legally valid, you should:

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