Child Custody Dispute : The Role of the Guardian Ad Litem

custody visitation lawyer and attorney wisconsinIf divorcing parents cannot agree on a custody and visitation arrangement for their child, the court may assign a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the interests of a child in a Wisconsin child custody dispute.

Contested Child Custody and Visitation

A guardian ad litem is a person the court appoints to investigate what solutions are in the best interests of the child. They are typically appointed in contested child custody and visitation cases, but they may also be involved in adoptions, termination of parental rights cases or other cases that require more information about the child’s circumstances.

A GAL can look at things such as where the child should live most of the time, whether there are issues of substance abuse, or what contact a child should have with a parent. Depending on what is in the court order, a GAL may be asked to report on the overall situation and offer a custody recommendation to the court or their role may be limited to investigating a few specific issues.

The best interests of the child are first and foremost in a disputed custody case, of course. The GAL’s recommendation should strive to protect the child’s right to a meaningful, engaged relationship with both parents when possible factoring in the child’s age, the existing relationship with each parent, the stability of the home environments, and each parent’s ability to care for the child among other considerations.

A Guardian ad litem is typically an attorney or a mental health professional who has undergone special training to represent the best interests of a child. In some cases, a parent may feel that a guardian ad litem is not working effectively on behalf of their child, which may be resolved by sharing your concerns with the GAL or sharing your concerns with the court.

Within the general provisos of the Order, a GAL is required to inform the court when his or her recommendation is not in sync with a child’s wishes. To protect privacy, the report provided by the GAL is sealed so that only the parties to the custody dispute and the court can access the information. Your cooperation with the GAL is required by law and it is not permitted to exercise undue influence over your child to gain advantage during the evaluation.

Wisconsin Child Custody Dispute Lawyers

If you have questions regarding child custody in a divorce, contact the Wisconsin child custody dispute lawyers of Probst Law Offices for assistance. If you are dealing with a child custody or visitation matter, it is important to have an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney on your side. Attorneys Jane Probst and Lyndsay White have successfully represented many clients who have family law issues regarding the custody of their children in a divorce. Contact our offices at 414-210-3135 for a free consultation of your case.


Wisconsin Grandparent Visitation Rights

Families can grow apart for various reasons and sometimes grandparents become estranged from their grandchildren. Reasons may include issues such as divorce, the death of a parent, drug or alcohol abuse, imprisonment, or a break down in the relationship between the parents and grandparents in general.

Grandparents may wish to seek visitation rights with their grandchildren and, in some cases, they may be permitted to petition the court. However, in Wisconsin, courts strongly protect the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit without outside interference, so a lot depends on the circumstances.

Grandparents who wish to petition for visitation rights may do so only if there is an action affecting the family such as divorce, separation, or perhaps in cases where the parents may be unfit or incompetent. If no action is pending, grandparents are typically not allowed to petition the court.

Grandparent Visitation in Cases of Divorce

If the parents divorce, the courts prefer to see grandparents and children continue an existing relationship of course. However, if both parents refuse to allow grandparent visitation, the court will be hesitant to interfere. If proposed grandparent visitation cuts into the limited time the child could otherwise spend with a parent, time with parents may take priority.

What If My Grandchild’s Parents Were Not Married?

Nowadays, young couples with children may not be married. In paternity cases, the courts are more likely to grant grandparent visitation in cases where the custodial parent is preventing contact if grandparents have maintained a relationship with the child or attempted to.

It is important to bear in mind that if grandparents are seeking visitation, interference with the custodial parents decisions will be frowned upon. In other words, your rights are limited to having a relationship with the child, not calling the shots or otherwise undermining the relationship between the parent and child.

The Best Interests of the Child in Grandparent Visitation Determinations

If you have grounds to petition the court for visitation with your grandchild, generally speaking the court will look at many factors to consider what is in the best interests of the child (see Wis. Stat. § 767.43 )

The wishes of the parent(s)
The needs of the child, including considerations of physical and emotional health of the child, the safety of the child, and the welfare of the child
The capability of the parents and/or grandparents to meet the needs of the child
The wishes of the child, if the child is capable of making decisions for himself or herself
The strength of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
The length of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
Evidence of abuse or neglect by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
Evidence of substance abuse by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
The child’s adjustment to the home, school, or community
The ability of the parent(s) or grandparent(s) to provide love, affection, and contact with the child
The distance between the child and the parent(s) or grandparent(s)

Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Grandparent Visitation Rights Lawyer

Put Decades of Experience with Wisconsin Child Custody and Visitation Matters on Your Side!

If you have questions about Wisconsin grandparent visitation rights or child custody issues and would like to meet with an experienced Wisconsin Family Law attorney, contact our Waukesha and Milwaukee metro family law offices for more information. We understand that grandparents have an important role to play in their grandchildren’s lives and we will make every effort to help you maintain that relationship. Contact the Wisconsin grandparent visitation rights attorneys at Probst Law Offices S.C. for help today at 414-210-3135.

Child Support Enforcement

best divorce attorney waukeshaIf your ex-spouse fails to pay court ordered child support or alimony (spousal maintenance) or is not honoring a child custody and visitation arrangement, they may be found in contempt of court. If you are in a situation such as this, you may file a motion with the court describing the problem in order to have your matter heard.

If your ex-spouse is found in contempt (ignored the court order), the court will direct him or her to correct the contempt and may order sanctions or penalties for failing to comply with the court order. The court will likely offer your ex-spouse an opportunity to purge or correct the contempt through the completion of set tasks or payments. Failure to comply with the conditions can result in sanctions which may include additional fines, wage garnishment, liens on property, and seizure of property or even incarceration.

Ex- Spouse Not Paying Court Ordered Child Support?

Experience Matters – Contact a Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement Attorney

If your ex-spouse is not paying court ordered child support, it can be downright frustrating and the impact can be financially significant to be able to provide for your children. If you need assistance enforcing a court order following your divorce, contact the Waukesha Wisconsin law offices of Jane Probst at 414-210-3135.  Jane Probst will put her decades of Family Law experience to work on your behalf.

Can I Make Changes to My Wisconsin Divorce Decree?

The family law attorneys of Jane Probst Law Offices, S.C., can assist you if you need help modifying any part of your Wisconsin divorce decree.

Can Child or Spousal Support Be Modified?

If your ex-spouse pays child support and their income has increased, you may be able to petition the court to increase spousal and child support. On the other hand, if you are the payer of support and have lost your job or your pay has been substantially reduced, you may be able to decrease what you owe. Keep in mind that the Court can only modify support back to the date the other party received notice of the Motion to modify support, not the change in income, so it is important to file promptly if there are changes in your circumstances.

Modifications to Marital Property Division

With the possible exception of fraud or failure to disclose assets at the time of the initial decree, modifying property division is not permitted.

Modifying Wisconsin Child Custody and Placement Orders

More immediate changes may be made to child custody and placement arrangements if there has been a significant change in circumstances such as:

  • your ex-spouse is not following through on child custody and visitation arrangements and you need help enforcing the decree
  • a move to a new location makes the current custody and placement (visitation) arrangement infeasible
  • situations where the child’s safety and well-being are in question including a parent’s chemical dependency or criminal activity

Contact an Experienced Waukesha and Milwaukee Divorce Decree Lawyer for Help

If you have questions regarding changes to a Wisconsin divorce decree or the post judgement modifications in a divorce, contact the Waukesha and Milwaukee area Family Law Attorneys of Jane Probst Law Offices, S.C., for more information at 414-210-3135.

Parental Rights in Cases of Substance Abuse

Sad LadyChild Custody Determinations When a Spouse Abuses Drugs or Alcohol

Unfortunately, many Americans suffer from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Substance abusers can create serious problems within their own families. In many marriages, drug and alcohol abuse is the primary factor in the divorce.

When a parent has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, child custody and visitation arrangements will require careful consideration. If your spouse has a history of abusing drugs or alcohol, you may feel strongly that he or she cannot provide adequate supervision or model appropriate behavior for your children following a divorce.

If you have concerns, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced child custody lawyer. Typically, the matter will boil down to what is in the best interests of your children.

Loss of Parental Rights in Cases of Substance Abuse

In cases where there is a preponderance of evidence that a parent is engaged in conduct which may potentially endanger a child’s mental, moral, or physical health, or impair a child’s emotional development, the court will enter orders to protect the child, which can include protection from harm caused by a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.

These orders may include necessary reductions and adjustments to custody and visitation arrangements. They may include a restraining order to limit a parent’s communication or proximity to the children and the other parent or order supervised visits between your ex-spouse and the children.

Parents struggling with drug or alcohol addiction may be required to complete a treatment program and will likely be directed to abstain from being under the influence of, possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs in the presence of their children if they are granted custody or visitation.

Contact Our Experienced Waukesha Child Custody Lawyers

If you are considering divorce and are concerned about parental rights in cases of substance abuse and the custody or visitation of your children, contact the Waukesha and Milwaukee metro child custody and visitation attorneys of Probst Law Offices, S.C. for help today at 414-210-3135.

Wisconsin Spousal Maintenance

Alimony is referred to as spousal maintenance in Wisconsin. It is a payment one spouse makes to the other to reduce the financial hardship one may experience in a divorce.

When making a Wisconsin spousal maintenance determination, Wisconsin courts will look at various factors to decide the amount and duration of payments to be awarded. Among the factors considered are:

  • the education level and earning capacity of each spouse and whether one spouse contributed to the education or earning power of the other
  • the requesting spouse’s work history, training, and skills along with their time spent away from the work force
  • what responsibility the requesting spouse will have for the care of the children moving forward
  • the time needed for the requesting spouse to get the additional education or training so that they can find employment and whether with such employment will allow the requesting spouse to achieve similar standard of living as enjoyed in the marriage

Other factors will likely include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The division of property
  • Each spouse’s age
  • The physical and emotional health of both parties
  • The ability of each spouse to work
  • Any other factor that is relevant to the requesting spouse’s need for maintenance and the ohter spouse’s ability to pay

Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Spousal Maintenance Attorney

If you are considering divorce, have questions regarding spousal maintenance or you are divorced and have a change income, contact an experienced Wisconsin spousal support and post divorce modification attorney at Law Offices of Jane Probst for more information.  Jane Probst’s guiding principle is to do what is in her client’s best interests. Jane will work closely with you to find the best solution for your situation. Favorable outcomes can be reached through negotiation, or if needed, through litigation. Since 1990 Probst law firm focused solely on Wisconsin Family Law. We offer free and confidential consultations. Call (414) 210-3135 to speak with an experienced spousal maintenance attorney.

Relocating With Children After Divorce | Waukesha Wisconsin Child Custody Lawyer

After parents divorce, circumstances can change in a custodial parent’s life which may result in a relocation. Many states, including Wisconsin, require that a parent planning a move notify the other parent of their intention to relocate with a child. A Wisconsin parent cannot simply leave with their child if the child is subject to a custody order.

There are procedures that a parent must follow if he or she wants to move with a child and there are measures a non-relocating parent can take if they object to the move. The laws are complex when it comes to the relocation of a child when custody and visitation are an issue, so it is recommended that parents work with an experienced child custody lawyer. Continue reading “Relocating With Children After Divorce | Waukesha Wisconsin Child Custody Lawyer”

Moms Returning to Work After Divorce

The vast majority of parents who take time off to raise children would ultimately like to return to the workplace. This is particularly true for stay-at-home parents that are divorcing who find themselves thrust into finding employment to financially support their family.

Returning to Work After a Divorce

Although there are more dads staying home with the children these days, more typically the mom will put her career on hold to raise the kids during the marriage and, when things go south, she is the one looking for a job.

Fortunately, research shows that many qualified women are able to return to the workforce when they want to or need to. However, studies reveal of the 73% of women who returned to the workforce, only 40% landed regular full time work.

One of the biggest challenges professionals face when trying to make a career shift is perception. Hiring managers looking at candidates who have been out of the workforce may be concerned about how current your skills are and where your priorities lie when it comes to the work/family balance. Continue reading “Moms Returning to Work After Divorce”

Waukesha Child Custody Modification

When there are children involved in a divorce, making decisions about their care can be difficult when the circumstances are new to a family. When raising children in two households instead of one, it is expected and understood that the child custody and visitation arrangements that you made early on may not suit your family’s needs indefinitely.

Changes in child support may also come up where a job loss reduces the amount of support that a recipient may be entitled to. Conversely, an increase in one parent’s income or unanticipated expenses related to the care of the child may result in an more child support. A remarriage of either parent can also change how much child support should be paid. Continue reading “Waukesha Child Custody Modification”

Feedspot Selects Probst Law Office for Top Family Law Blog

Top 80 badgeWe are pleased  to announce that Feedspot has selected Probst Law Offices, S.C.’ Blog, as a “Top 80 Family Law Blog.”  Click here, If you would like to receive monthly updates from our Wisconsin Family Law Blog.

Probst Law Offices’ attorneys are experienced in all areas of Wisconsin Family Law, including:
• Traditional Divorce and Complex Divorce
• Business Owners in Divorce
• Child Custody and Child Placement (Visitation)
• Interstate Child Custody Matters
• Child Support & Spousal Maintenance
• Guardianship and Grandparents Rights
• Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights
• Same Sex Couples
• Domestic Violence
• Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial agreements.
• Paternity

It is important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law lawyer. Contact Probst Law Offices at 414-210-3135 for assistance with your family law issue.