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Tag Archives: Family Law

Lawsuit: Agency wrongfully imprisoned children

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services wrongfully incarcerated hundreds of children in juvenile detention after a court ordered them to be released to their guardian, according to a class action lawsuit filed Thursday by Cook County's public guardian.

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Looking back: The best and worst of 2022

One of my favorite columns is to review family law cases and legislation from the prior year. It gives me yet another opportunity to express my thoughts on the good and the bad that occurred. Fortunately for me as a columnist, there was enough bad to make this column (hopefully) somewhat entertaining as “good” tends to be boring.

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Out of the mouths of babes

While a child of 16 years with a car is going to make his or her own decision about placement, do we really want to give a 7 year old that authority?

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The right to self-represent

right to self-represent

In 1975, The United States Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to waive counsel and self-represent in a criminal case. Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975).  While the trial court has a responsibility to discourage self-representation, it cannot prohibit it. The result can be (and usually is) the circus occurring in the Waukesha trial of the Christmas parade driver Darrell Brooks.

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the average number of cases to report on, between Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals (published and citeable unpublished cases) was 15-20 per year. So far this year, there have been zero Supreme Court cases, one published Court of Appeals case and four citeable unpublished Court of Appeals cases.

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Courts meant to serve the public

Here's a simple idea: Courts should serve the public. In particular, parties should be allowed to be divorced without the costs and inconvenience of a public court appearance.

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Will courts really enforce proposed financial information exchange rules?

In law, as in many things in life, some ideas are better in theory than in practice. It is not uncommon that the Legislature, which has precious few lawyers (most sessions have ten or fewer lawyers out of 133 state Senators and Representatives, and almost none of them has ever been in the private practice of law), passes legislation which sounds good on its face but has a different practical effect. The phrase which attaches to such legislation is “the law of unintended consequences.”

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The Valadez case: A bad start to the year

The first family-law case to be recommended for publication by the Court of Appeals in almost two years makes me wish that it would have been longer. Well, the good news is that when I write my end of the year column for 2022 highlighting bad decisions, I will have a good start.

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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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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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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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New rules coming to family law

On paper, the new rule appears simple: Starting July 1, lawyer-mediators will be able to draw up settlement documents in family law cases. In practice, though, it's far from easy.

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