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Divorce Tips from a Pitbull Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer

Fighting for your rights during a difficult time

Child Support Modification in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Divorce Attorney on Changing Child Support Orders

Under Wisconsin family law, any “substantial” changes in circumstances can lead to child support modification. Child support orders can be increased, decreased and even terminated if certain criteria are met. Below are some of the primary reasons a court will decrease or increase child support payments in Wisconsin. This list should not be considered comprehensive, because the court has discretion in deciding which factors are relevant. Contact an experienced Milwaukee child support attorney more information.

Wisconsin Child Support Modification – Where and How

Every three years, the state will mail a reminder to both the custodial and non-custodial parent reminding them of their rights to a review of their Wisconsin child support orders. Parents needn’t wait for this letter to attempt to adjust their orders. Both parties can agree to a revised child support agreement at any time, and either parent begin post-judgment proceedings by requesting a review 33 months from the day upon which the last child support order was entered. Also, if either parent participates in cash-benefits from programs like SSI Caretaker Supplement, Kinship Care, and W-2, the orders will be reviewed automatically.

A Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer on Adhering to Child Support Orders

Both parents should obey their child support orders even while they are up for review. There may be serious legal ramifications for failing to meet your responsibilities as outlined by the court. Contact our Milwaukee divorce law firm for more information.

Decreasing or Increasing Child Support in Wisconsin based on a Change of Income

In reviewing Wisconsin child support orders, the court may make adjustments based on a change in income of either parent. Often, in order to account for future changes, orders are based on percentage rather than a raw numbers. While modifying a percentage-based support order is different than modifying an order with raw numbers, percentage-based orders are not immune to modification. In making determinations, the court may consider changes in the either parent’s wage, earning capacity, changes in the needs of the child, and other factors the court deems relevant.

At John T. Fields, our Milwaukee divorce law firm has extensive experience with both child support and child custody modification in Wisconsin. Contact one of our Milwaukee divorce attorneys for more information on how to best prepare for a reviewing your child support orders.

When you need aggressive legal representation in your corner, John T. Fields & Associates will fight like a pitbull for your rights to parenthood and property. Call our Milwaukee divorce lawyers today at 262-782-8322.

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Child Abuse And Family Law

What Is Child Abuse and Neglect?

Child abuse and neglect is a growing epidemic in our society. In the United States alone, there are over 6 million reported cases of child abuse and neglect annually. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as:

“Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

Child abuse can occur at any socioeconomic level. It is found across the borders of all ethnic, cultural, and religious communities in many forms.

78% of all cases of child maltreatment are due to neglect, while 26% of child maltreatment cases are defined as physical or sexual abuse.

In most cases of reported maltreatment of children, a child suffers more than one type of abuse. Abuse can come in the following forms:

  • Physical: includes any action that inflicts pain
  • Neglect: absence of parental care
  • Emotional/Mental: behaviors towards children that belittle  or dehumanize them causing mental harm
  • Sexual: actions towards a child of a sexual nature; usually meant to please the offender

The earlier a person recognizes that a child is being abused or neglected, the greater chance of stopping it and helping the child to begin the healing process. If you believe your child has suffered any type of abuse, contact the authorities immediately to begin the investigation process. Every parent wants what is best for their child, and getting help is the first step in protecting your child from further abuse and the scars it leaves behind.

Signs of Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse Signs: Unexplained injuries, the child shies away from contact with adults, or wearing excessive clothes to cover up their body.
  • Sexual Abuse Signs: In cases where the child is not old enough to verbalize what is happening to them, the child may have a fear of removing clothing or being in close contact with others.
  • Emotional Abuse or Neglect Signs: A child is ignored or rejected, constantly criticized, yelled at and threatened. Emotional neglect occurs when a parent isolates the child or fails to provide the affection and support the child needs. The child becomes afraid of new situations, the child begins to overact to their own mistakes, and the child’s social development may begin to slow.
  • Education Neglect Signs: A parent or guardian does not bring the child to school, or allows them to miss school frequently, or they constantly cause the child to show up late to school.
  • Medical Neglect Signs: A parent fails to provide necessary medical care for the child, not taking them to a doctor when they are sick and allowing injuries to go untreated, or failing to administer necessary prescribed medication.

It is very difficult to determine if your child has been abused or neglected. If parents are going through a divorce, symptoms of abuse are sometimes mistaken as the child “acting out” because they are upset about the divorce. When talking to a child about potential abuse or neglect, it is important for a parent to listen to their child without pushing too hard to get information from the child. Parents should remain positive and reassure the child everything will be okay and encourage them to tell the truth. The child should know that their parents only want to help them and protect them. A trained professional will also be able help to determine if the child is actually being abused or neglected.

Child Abuse and Family Law

In most cases of abuse allegations, the parents are not living together. A parent may have suspicions that their child is being abused at the home of the other parent, or the child may report abuse to one parent that takes place at the home of the other. This does not always mean that your child’s other parent is the abuser. Perhaps there is someone else in the home that this child has been exposed to that is causing harm to your child. It could be a relative, baby-sitter, or the other’s parents significant other.

It is very important that if you share placement of your child with his or her other parent, you make yourself aware of who else may be living in your child’s home, and who else your child may be exposed to.

If you believe that your child is being abused, contact a lawyer to help you protect your child. There are steps that can be taken to have a child immediately removed from a home where there is suspicion of abuse or neglect, such as filing emergency motions to change placement, or a child abuse restraining order. Whatever the case, please contact authorities right away and if your child has been abused, take immediate steps to get them the help they need. It has been documented that 30% of abused or neglected children will abuse their own children. Let’s stop the abuse cycle here.

As a parent, you are your child’s voice, and that voice should be heard.

At John T. Fields & Associates, we have over 25 years of experience dealing with all areas of family law, and we have been able to assist many families where child abuse was present. Contact our office immediately if you believe your child may be in danger.

Milwaukee Area Office: (262) 782-8322

Madison Area Office: (608) 260-7370

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Tips For Coping With A New Step Parent

After a divorce, moving on can be a very difficult task. One, or perhaps even both, former spouses may find another partner and get remarried. The difficulty here can be in dealing with a stepparent or new spouse of an ex. This can be an especially difficult time for children.  After a divorce, children can struggle when one of their parents has a new spouse. They see this new parent as trying to replace the one they still have. It should be made clear to the children, by all adults involved, that stepparent(s) are not replacing biological mothers and fathers.

Stepparents interacting with the children can also be difficult. Relationships between children and a stepparent will develop slowly. It often takes months, or even years, for a child to be comfortable with their new stepparent. And once they do become comfortable with a stepparent, it is not okay for a stepparent to be called “Mom” or “Dad”. Those names should be left for the biological parents. Instead, have the children refer to the stepparent by their first name or step-mom or step-dad.

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Consequences of Physical Abuse

It is a sad reality that childhood physical abuse exists today. While many children are physically abused every year, it is difficult to know exactly how many because of a lack of reporting the abuse. Yet this abuse has damaging short and long term effects on the children who are victims of the abuse.

The most obvious short term effect of physical abuse of children is medical problems. Children will incur a wide array of injuries from abuse, ranging from bruises and marks to broken bones and scars. In some circumstances, the child will not receive proper medical care as the abusive parent either does not believe the child needs care or does not want to bring the child to get medical care because of the signs of the abuse. However, the physical injuries are not the only result of the abuse. Children who are physically abused also have emotional problems. They become fearful of adults because of the past abuse which came from an adult. The children can also become angry over small things, see a decline in their social skills when interacting with peers, and also exhibit low self-esteem. Abused children also tend to see a drop in academic performance and begin to act out more in the classroom.

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FAQ: What Is A Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a court-appointed lawyer whose job is to serve as an advocate for the best interests of the children in a Wisconsin divorce. Either parent can request a Guardian Ad Litem be appointed, but one will be assigned if the parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody or placement either independently or with the help of a mediator. After performing an investigation called an “informal discovery,” Guardians Ad Litem will advise the judge based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: the wishes of the child, the safety and well being of the child, the strength and duration of existing relationships with grandparents or other family members, the amount of time spent with the child in the past, relocation concerns including school and child care, and the parent’s ability to cooperate and communicate with the other parent in regards to the child. For more information about how Guardians Ad Litem affect your child custody battle, call to schedule an appointment with an experienced Milwaukee area divorce lawyer at John T. Fields & Associates.

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