I have had many parents ask me why they have to participate in mediation. They often explain that they have not been able to reach an agreement with their child’s other parent on their own, and therefore mediation just won’t work. What those parents don’t realize, and what I explain to them, is that Wisconsin’s family court laws have made mediation the required first step. Wisconsin Statute 767.405(5) directs that a court must refer parents with placement and custody disputes to their county’s mediation program. In addition, parents are required to attend a parenting class, which usually doubles as the mediation orientation session. The focus of this programming is often related to co-parenting communication and explanations of how the mediation process works. Though you should not agree to any custody arrangements you can’t deal with for at least a couple years, most of the local counties have very high rates of successfully getting parents to an agreement. There are only limited circumstances in which you can bypass the mediation process and proceed directly to a GAL (guardian ad litem).
As March roars in like a baby lion, we are running a charity contest. For every new LIKE on Petit & Dommershausen’s Facebook page in March, Petit & Dommershausen will donate $1 (up to $500) to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society!!
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In addition to the traditional divorce litigation representation, both collaborative divorce and divorce mediation services are ways to proceed with a divorce in a much less aggressive manner. Petit & Dommershausen handles all three types of representation.
As a divorce mediator, Petit & Dommershausen does not take a sides. Our role is to help a couple to communicate and arrive at mutual agreements. Through mediation, you may be able to resolve disputes faster, with less bitterness, and at less cost than battling in court. The mediator can provide information about the divorce process and guide a discussion to help resolve issues. Petit & Dommershausen would not represent either party and could not provide legal advice. The couple can hire Petit & Dommershausen as a mediator if you have an attorney or if you are not represented by an attorney at all. During this process, the parties may communicate with one another directly in the presence of the mediator. The goal of mediation is to allow parties to reach agreements that meet the needs of both parties and their children without the financial and emotional cost of a court battle.
At Petit & Dommershausen, we get calls many times from parents who tell us that the police are at their door, they have a search warrant and they want to take all the computers, electronic devices and phones from their household as part of the warrant. They then tearfully explain that their child is alleged to be in possession of child pornography and that he is going to be questioned by the police. We have to reassure the parents that what the officers are saying might be technically true, there is, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.”
Establishing paternity has many benefits outside child support, but proof of paternity is required to receive those benefits. Many of the benefits only come into play in the event of the father’s death, therefore you shouldn’t delay establishing legal fatherhood.
Social Security Benefits
Paternity must be established for a child to receive a Social Security benefit if a father dies before the child has attained age 18. Children are generally eligible for Social Security benefits if they are under 18 or under 19 and are enrolled in elementary, intermediate, or secondary school full time.
If you are 17 years of age in Wisconsin you are an adult for criminal prosecution purposes.
In Wisconsin, a juvenile is an adult if they commit an alleged crime after the age of 17 years. In many instances they can be waived to adult count at a much younger age. However, for any crime, turning age 17 makes your teen an adult under Wisconsin criminal laws. However, under those same Wisconsin laws, a teen victim is considered a “child” if they are under the age of 18 years. Given that incongruity, the following strange scenario can occur.