Texas vs. Wisconsin Law Regarding Effect of Litigation on Children
February 19, 2014
I’ve been critical over the years of the failure of Wisconsin courts to recognize the harm to children caused by litigation. Recently, a Texas Supreme Court case (authored by my friend, Justice Debra Lehrmann) reversed a trial court for refusing to accept a settlement agreement.
So, this is perfect for my column in the Wisconsin Law Journal which just published my article in its on-line edition.
While Texas has a statute requiring courts to accept settlement agreements, which Wisconsin does not, I was most impressed with the language of the decision recognizing the harm caused to children by litigation. Once a child’s basic needs for shelter and food have been met, it is usually less important for the child to have additional material worth than to have peace between the child’s parents.
Yet Wisconsin courts have consistently refused to recognize this harm. The result is a series of unfortunate decision which encourage, rather than discourage, litigation.
Family law attorneys used to make fun of Texas law for not allowing spousal support (it now does, but only under very limited circumstances) and for allowing jury trials in family law. How ironic that we can learn from their Supreme Court.