Archive: 2004

Children’s Evening Meal Does Not Equate to ‘Overnight Care’

Published: Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

In Rumpff v. Rumpff, the District II Court of Appeals called into question the definition of “equivalent care” and the efficacy of the sharing of “variable expenses” in the state’s child support guidelines.

Court Approves Authorizing Third Party to Resolve Disputes

Published: Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

A recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision, which is recommended for publication, contradicts long-held beliefs regarding the ability of parties to contract for determination of child issues outside of the court system.

Status Quo Statute Bumps Heads with Statute Pushing Joint Custody

Published: Saturday, July 24th, 2004

What happens when new legislation causes a direct conflict with an existing statute? Did the Wisconsin legislature forget about the existing law? How does an appellate court, which is supposed to interpret statutes, not rewrite them, deal with such a conflict?

Decision in Helling Likely to Lead to Confusion

Published: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

On the one hand, some courts have moral qualms about overnight guests, especially if the divorce is not final. On the other hand, society seems to have accepted far more permissive bounds of sexual conduct today than in the past. Where should the line be drawn?

Court’s Consideration of ‘Shirking’ is Exercise in Semantics

Published: Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

Note to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals: If shirking is an “unfortunate term,” as you characterized it in your recent family law decision, Chen v. Warner, please stop using it!

Are Divorce Settlements Like Games?

Published: Thursday, April 1st, 2004

In divorce settlement, both parties have information which is held privately and information which is known to both parties. Both sides typically will know (or at least should know) some information, like the community cards in “Texas Hold-em.”

New Law Muddies Water Surrounding GAL’s Role

Published: Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Gov. Jim Doyle recently signed into law 2003 Wisconsin Act 130. Among other things, this bill creates a rebuttable presumption against awarding legal custody to a parent who has engaged in a pattern or serious incident of domestic abuse, requires a GAL and mediator to have training related to domestic violence and requires the GAL to investigate whether either party has engaged in domestic violence.

Decision Could Create Problems for Child-Therapist Privilege

Published: Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

A frequent issue in family law revolves around a child’s privilege with his or her therapist. On occasion, one of the parents will attempt to secure the therapy records against the wishes of the other parent and sometimes, against the wishes of the Guardian ad Litem and the therapist. A recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision in a non-family law case may create serious problems in keeping these records private.