From everyone at Petit & Dommershausen, SC, to all of our clients, their families, and our community – Happy Holidays!
Petit & Dommershausen, SC, is grateful for the warm welcome our Green Bay Area office has received. We would like to extend our appreciation by joining Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin in GREEN BAY’S GREATEST COMEBACK by donating to the Bay Beach efforts at restoration and revitalization efforts.
For each new like Petit & Dommershausen, SC receives on Facebook from June 21, 2019 to September 1, 2019, we will donate $1 to Bay Beach with a maximum donation of $500. Be sure to like us and share this post with your friends! Bring Back the Beach.
Find more information here.
The State of Wisconsin has recently updated its laws and procedures regarding how a parent is to obtain a court’s approval to relocate with a child that is subject to an order granting periods of physical placement to both parents, as well as the procedures that a parent opposing such a move will have to follow. The new procedures are outlined in Wisconsin Statutes Section 767.481, and important features of the new law include:
-A moving parent must now seek court approval by filing a motion to move a child more than 100 miles from the other parent, rather than 150 miles as the law had been previously written (unless the parents already live more than 100 miles apart). This distance threshold applies whether or not the moving parent is moving out of state with the child.
-A parent objecting to a proposed move must file and serve, at least 5 days in advance of the initial hearing, an objection to the proposal and any alternate proposal that he or she may have.
-The court will schedule an initial hearing within 30 days after the motion has been filed. If a parent is objecting to the proposed move, the parents will likely be referred to mediation, and a guardian ad litem will be appointed by the court to conduct an investigation if the parents still cannot agree after the mediation process. A final hearing on the matter will then be held within 60 days, and the court may issue a temporary order to allow a child to be moved pending the final hearing if the court determines that the move is in a child’s best interest.
If you have questions regarding placement and child custody, please call Petit & Dommershausen at (920) 739-9900 for a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
As a local criminal defense attorney, this is by far the most common question I get: why am I being charged with domestic abuse for a verbal argument with my significant other? I don’t blame anyone for asking this question because it is confusing, so I’ll clear it up for you today.
In Wisconsin, any offense committed against a present or former spouse, against an adult with whom the person resides with presently or formerly, or against an adult with whom the person has a child in common, is by definition a domestic abuse incident. Wis. Stat. 968.075.
Let’s break that down a little bit with an example or two. Bob divorced his wife Lisa in 2002. They run into each other at Country USA in 2016 and a fight ensues. Even though Bob and Lisa are no longer in a “domestic” relationship by common definition, they still fall within the definition under Wisconsin statutes. As a result, both Bob and Lisa are charged with Domestic Battery. A second example: Sue and Stan share custody of their 3 year old son. During a drop off at a public park, Sue yells at Stan in a profane manner. Guests of the park are offended and contact the authorities. Sue is charged with Domestic Disorderly Conduct. Because Sue and Stan share a child, they have a domestic relationship.
Now that we understand what qualifies as domestic abuse in Wisconsin, let’s talk about the consequences of this qualification. There are two primary consequences of the domestic abuse enhancer in Wisconsin. First is that in the event of a conviction, there’s a mandatory domestic abuse surcharge the individual will be required to pay. Presently the surcharge is $100 for each domestic offense but as we all know these costs can change at any time. The second primary consequence is that if an individual has two separate prior domestic offenses, they are considered a domestic abuse repeater for the third (and all subsequent offenses). Why this matters is because the enhancer for a domestic repeater actually changes the maximum penalties for the offense and, if the offense in question is only a misdemeanor, if the person is a domestic abuse repeater the status changes from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Do you need legal assistance with a domestic offense? Attorney Britteny LaFond and the rest of the legal team at Petit & Dommershausen is here to help. Call 920-739-9900 for your confidential consultation.
DECLARATION OF PATERNAL INTEREST
Don’t let your parental rights be terminated without your knowledge!!
Do you believe someone you slept with could be carrying your child? If so, do you want to be notified if the mom is making the important decision to give the child up for adoption? If the answer is yes, you must file a declaration of paternal interest which can be found at: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/forms/pdf/0019a.pdf
This declaration can be filed as soon as you suspect a child could have been conceived but it must be filed either 1) before the birth of the child 2) within 14 days after the birth of the child or 3) if the possible father receives notice under Wisconsin Statute 48.42(1g)(b) that the mother of a child under the age of one is seeking to voluntarily terminate her parental rights and has identified him as the father.
If it is not filed, any potential father’s rights could be terminated and the child could be placed for adoption with only a tiny notice published in a local paper!
This filing is confidential and can only be used by children’s court proceedings.
Filing a declaration of paternal interest does not establish parental rights to a child. The potential father will need to take further action to establish and protect his rights and responsibilities as a father!!
Need help?? Contact Petit & Dommershausen today at 920-739-9900!
With three convenient locations in Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay. We serve all of Northeast Wisconsin including Outagamie, Winnebago, Waupaca, Calumet, Brown, Oconto, Marinette and Fond du Lac counties.
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1. I resolve to remind my child that they are loved.
2. I resolve to reassure my child often that divorce is not their fault.
3. I resolve to not let my child blame themselves for the divorce. Children often blame themselves and think if they were better kids, this wouldn’t be happening. There is no need to lie to your child in an effort to make them feel less responsible. However, one of the main reasons kids blame themselves is because they weren’t told the truth. That being said, do not go into gory details and explain in an age appropriate manner why you are divorcing. You should also be honest with your children that you will not be getting back together. They often think that if they behave better, are more fun, etc., their parents will get back together again internalizing the reason why the divorce is occurring.
4. I resolve to let my child to express their feelings no matter what. They may be sad, depressed, angry, or happy, but do not know how to express it. Encourage your child to express their feelings about the divorce. Let them be honest as to how they feel even if it hurts your feelings. Do not show your children that your feelings are hurt no matter what they say. This will be difficult. Try not to minimize your child’s pain and sadness. You cannot make it immediately better nor should you try. Offer your support and comfort by letting your child know you care about their feelings and that their feelings matter to you.
5. I resolve to respect my children. Respect the fact that no matter what the cause of your divorce, your child wants a relationship with both parents. Do your best to foster that relationship and encourage it. Your child is half of each of you and blaming or bashing your ex in front of your children will make them feel bad. Try not to engage in nasty argumentative behavior when your children are present. This makes your children sad, guilty, and defensive. Keep visible conflict away from your children. Do not make your children take sides.
6. I resolve to be consistent. When a major life change is happening, children need routine and consistency. Keeping in that routine provides comfort. Minimize any disruptions to the daily routine or changes to your relationships. They still need routine, consistency and structure, especially during times of stress.
7. I resolve to accept help from others. Both you and your child are going through difficult times. Friends and relatives can make role models and sounding boards for both you and your children. Talk to the child’s teachers so that the teacher can help if they notice signs of stress. If you or others close to you see signs of serious stress or emotional issues in your child, encourage your child to talk to the guidance counselor at school, teachers, friends, or arrange for counseling.
8. I resolve to not make my child the go between. Don’t have your child relay messages back and forth. These should be communicated directly to your spouse by text, e-mail, phone or through a legal professional or mediator. Don’t grill your child for information about the other parent. This puts children on edge and makes them uncomfortable. While you are welcome to ask the child if they had a good time and what fun stuff they did with the other parent, that should be the extent of your questioning. On the other hand, if the child wants to tell you about something they did with the other parent, listen and try to respond positively. Putting the child in the middle of conflict causes emotional issues, resentment, and anxiety.
9. I resolve to remember that no matter how old my children are they are still our children. Even if your children are older when you divorce, you should not drag them into the middle of the conflict. Do not confide details or enlist them as negotiators.
10. I resolve to try to take the high road. I will try to take a step back and be the bigger person. I realize that falling into the old patterns of negativity are toxic and benefit no one. I will work towards positive results and will not withhold visitation unless a child is being neglected or in danger. The children who thrive after a divorce are those who are able to have strong relationships with both parents. If you cannot be civil to each other, see if you can do a child exchange at a neutral place (school, library, etc.) or have a third party do the exchange. Try not to prolong the goodbye nor show your child if you are upset. Depicting time with the other parent as a positive thing will help your child transition easier. The same is true when they return to you. You don’t want to be disinterested, but you don’t want to grill them. You should make every effort to act the same way you would if they were at grandparents or a friend’s home overnight. Allow your child to love the other parent and their extended family.
11. I resolve to stop overthinking. It is easy to obsess on what went wrong and why.
12. I resolve to try to leave it behind and use the wisdom I have learned to move forward.
13. I resolve to be present and patient in my life and to truly appreciate those around me. Focusing on the past can be depressing and focusing on the future can cause fear and anxiety.
14. I resolve not to be too hard on myself. I will remember that this is a difficult transition and I will be kind to myself while trying not to wallow.
If you need help with your custody or placement issues, contact a family law attorney at Petit & Dommershausen, located in the Appleton area and Oshkosh.
You can reach our Fox Valley attorneys at 920-739-9900 or our Oshkosh attorneys at 920-231-0699.
Petit & Dommershausen wishes everyone a wonderful New Year.
Holidays can be a difficult time for divorced or separated families especially when people crave the perfect family event. It can be emotionally gut wrenching having to split holiday time with your ex and knowing that the person passing the gravy to your kids is not you, but your ex’s new love. Protect your kids from the stress of their changing family situation this holiday season. Kids are easily influenced and often remember holidays for a lifetime.
Remember the holidays should be all about your kids, NOT YOU!
These experiences, combined with the cultural expectation to have a Hallmark holiday, can send divorced parents into emotional overload. So how do you keep your charged feelings from spilling over onto your kids? Especially at exchanges which can seem like an emotional rollercoaster? Here are some tips for managing holiday drop-offs with true co-parenting grace.
- Try to talk with your ex (if you can’t talk, email or text but in as neutral tone as humanly possible!!). If your children will be traveling, you and your ex must discuss beforehand what they will need to bring. Winter coats? Games they love? A backpack of activities? A favorite stuffed animal? Bring necessary items to the drop-off. Don’t be passive-aggressive by “forgetting” anything. Similarly, don’t yell at your ex if he didn’t bring what was expected. Protect your children from any transitional snafus by handling the situation like the adult you are and arranging, if possible, to deliver the goods as soon as you can.
- Talk with your children.Younger kids especially can be confused by the change in your usual schedule. Discuss holiday plans with them beforehand. Assure them that they will get to spend time with both parents and other important family members. Explain this well before the holiday so they have time to process the news and ask questions before drop-off. Does traveling make them anxious? Would they like to take something along? Games they love? A backpack of activities? A favorite stuffed animal? Help your children transition easier.
- Be on time.Do not be late! If your child is worried about how he’s spending the holiday, rushing to get her to your ex’s will only increase her anxiety. And don’t purposely dawdle. It doesn’t matter how much you hate your ex; your children deserve to arrive to a holiday gathering – or an airport – on time. Remember: ruining the holiday for your ex will also ruin it for your kids.
- Keep your feelings in check. No matter how sad or angry you may feel, you must pull yourself together before and during your placement exchange. This means no crying, no angry words with your ex, no hostile body language. Your composure will make the exchange easier on your kids. It will also model to them how to resolve conflict and manage tough situations. If you must fall apart, do it as you drive away or when you’re alone, or with your therapist.
- Take care of yourself – Kids are often reflections of our own moods. If you can be calm, they’ll be more likely to be calm – and we all know the reverse is true too! So be kind to yourself. Exercise, eat healthy food, get good sleep, enjoy close friends, meditate, pray, relax.
- Don’t prolong drop-off. If your kids are crying, do not use this as an opportunity either to gloat or to seek reassurance from them that they will miss you. Assure your children that you love them, wish them a happy holiday with your ex, and remind them when they will be with you next. Do NOT have a prolonged farewell! If they’re nervous or upset about their time away from you, engineering a long goodbye will only make them feel more anxious. You do not want to communicate, through words or body language, that this is a scary time, or that they have to tend to your feelings. An appropriate exit is much more tolerable for them than an angst-ridden, ambivalent one.
Try to take the high road. A smooth exchange will signal to your children that it’s okay to have a good time with their other parent. It doesn’t matter how big a jerk you think your ex is. Your children deserve to enjoy their holiday.
Above all, give your kids permission to love their other parent and their family. They are connected to their other family and your kids should not have to hide it from you.
If you need help with your custody issues, contact a family law attorney at Petit & Dommershausen, located in Menasha and Oshkosh.
You can reach our Fox Valley attorneys at 920-739-9900 or our Oshkosh attorneys at 920-231-0699.
Petit & Dommershausen wishes everyone a wonderful holiday season.
The Petit & Dommershausen law office solar panel installation is underway! Haven’t seen it yet? Drive by our Appleton Area office at 1650 Midway Road in Menasha to see the solar panel. Our firm is proud to have the opportunity to utilize solar technology in Northeast Wisconsin. Renewable energy is the power supply of the future. Did you know that by 2040, renewable energy is projected to equal coal and natural gas electricity generation. Curious about our project? Give us a call at 920-739-9900.