Family law practice is made up of essentially any "action affecting the family," which ranges from divorce to paternity and child support to custody and placement.  Hiring an experienced attorney is the most important first step you can take in any divorce or custody proceeding, as early decisions in the case will often become the status quo for you and your children.  As time passes between temporary orders, or between a temporary and final order, the parties and children become accustomed to the provisions of the order and judges may be hesitant to make changes.  A temporary order will typically set the tone of your case, and it's in your best interest for the first order to be in your favor.

Any divorce proceeding, with or without children, starts with filing a summons and petition for divorce which must be served upon the non-filing spouse.  A minimum of 120 days must pass between the date of filing and the date the divorce can be finalized.  During that time period, a Temporary Order is typically issued (either by court order after a hearing or by agreement between the parties) to determine who pays what bills and who lives in the marital residence while the divorce is pending, as well as relevant maintenance payments and custody, placement and child support issues.

If your family law case involves minor children, you will need to address custody, placement, and child support.  In Wisconsin, there are actually two separate aspects of what most people think of as child custody:  custody and placement.  Placement refers to where the child physically spends time, and is typically measured in overnights.  Custody, on the other hand, refers to the ability to make important decisions about your child's life, like where your child will go to school or whether your child will receive immunizations.  In most cases, joint custody will be appropriate and some variation of primary (one parent has more than 75% of the overnights or equivalent care placement) or shared placement will be ordered, depending on the living arrangements and work schedules of the parents as well as the schedule to which the child has become accustomed.

Child support is a function of the placement schedule and gross incomes of the parties, unless one parent exercises primary placement, in which case child support is a flat percentage of the secondary parent's gross income.  Because placement has such an impact on child support, many previously amicable parents are no longer able to agree once they are aware of the potential child support payments that could be received or paid for their children.

Maintenance (often called alimony in other states) is typically ordered in a divorce proceeding where one spouse earns significantly more income than the other.  Unlike child support, there is no clear formula for maintenance.   Attorneys and judges use several different calculators to arrive at potential maintenance amounts, but maintenance is very subjective and depends highly upon your specific circumstances.

Tlustosch Law Office, LLC understands what you're going through and wants to reassure you that having such complex feelings during your legal matter is completely normal. After all, the decisions you make now will change your life for many years to come. For this reason, our goal is to offer you compassion during this tough time as well as legal services that help you reach peaceful resolutions. We are equipped to handle family matters such as: 

  • Legal separation
  • Divorce
  • Child custody 
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Property distribution
  • Placement
  • Gaurdian ad Litem
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Paternity

If you're ready to put conflict behind you in favor of a fresh start, contact Candice C.M. Tlustosch at Tlustosch Law Office, LLC to schedule a consultation today.