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Family Law

A resource for family law cases

Ten years ago, the average number of cases to report on, between Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals (published and citeable unpublished cases) was 15-20 per year. So far this year, there have been zero Supreme Court cases, one published Court of Appeals case and four citeable unpublished Court of Appeals cases.

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The high conflict divorce

My late partner, Leonard Loeb, used to say that every lawyer has at least one case which they think is the cause of most of their headaches and lost sleep. The lawyer thinks “as soon as that case is completed, my life will be so much easier.” But, naturally, as soon as that case does wrap up, there is another one with the same effect on the lawyer.

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How support has changed in the age of COVID-19

Although I’m normally not one to bemoan the “good old days” gone by, there are instances in which I do. And given the unprecedented and unusual circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak as it affects the legal system, one such instance comes to mind.

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A MARRIAGE STORY: Does recent film offer Hollywood view of divorce, or is it close to real life?

Although I consider myself a movie buff, I typically dislike movies about lawyers and the legal system. For example, although Paul Newman (a great actor) was nominated for the Academy Award for playing a lawyer in “The Verdict”, I found the movie irritating (at best). Apparently, the rules against ex parte contact with the court were unknown to the script writers.

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2019 IN REVIEW

After a year of writing this column for the Wisconsin Law Journal, it is time to take a look back at the main issues for the year. This affords me the opportunity of taking another kick at such cats as seem to warrant another kick.

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Who wants to be friends – with a judge?

On Jan. 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question of who can be friends with a judge – at least in the cyber world. The implications of the case may affect the use of ESM (Electronic Social Media) by judges and bring into play the adage “bad facts make bad law”.

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Should courts ever grant grandparents’ visitation rights against parents’ wishes?

It is rare enough that the Wisconsin Supreme Court decides a family-law case (the last one of any significance was McReath eight years ago) and even more rare when the case involves issues of constitutional law. The court’s recent decision in Michels v. Kelsey, 2019 WI 57 also involves issues of the nature of family in our society and the effect of the legal system on families.

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New removal law ignores certain realities

It’s not that the previous law on relocation was perfect, but the new version, while improving on certain aspects, violates what should be a principal tenet for legislation: Don’t adopt laws, at least parts of which, everyone is just going to ignore.

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FAMILY LAW: Court to look at when grandparents’ visitation rights can infringe on children’s well-being

On Nov. 7, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a grandparent-visitation case, Michels v. Lyons, 2017AP1142. This case affords the Supreme Court an opportunity to affect the law in an important and highly emotional area. In the case, Jill Kelsey filed a petition to compel her son (the child’s father) and the mother to provide her with ...

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