If you are an unmarried parent, a legal action must be filed in order for you to have certain legal rights. In Wisconsin, this legal action is called a “paternity” case.
If you seek help from the county or court, a paternity case must be filed even if both parents agree who the father is. If you are a mother seeking child support, or a father who wants to enforce his placement and visitation rights, our firm has the experience to provide complete and aggressive representation in enforcing your rights. We are here to help you in the following areas:
- Child support
- Genetic testing
- Relocating your child
- Terminating arental rights
Child Custody and Placement
Our firm understands the legal issues related to custody decisions, placement, and visitation encounters. When you and the other parent of your child(ren) cannot agree on these issues, our firm will provide thorough and aggressive representation tailored to your particular situation and needs.
A judge may require one parent to pay the other parent in the form of child support. If your goal is to increase, decrease, end, or enforce child support, our firm has the experience to provide thorough, accurate, complete and aggressive representation in protecting your rights.
Other Parent Issues We Can Help With:
Our firm has the experience to assist, advise, and represent you in the following additional areas of the law:
- Contempt of Court
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Foster Care
- Genetic Testing
- Grandparent Rights
- Juvenile Crime
- Minor Emancipation
- Modifying a Court Order
A Paternity Case Roadmap
Temporary Order Hearing:
Once a parent files a paternity case, they may request a Temporary Order hearing. The purpose of a temporary hearing is to put a court order in place, setting out the financial, parenting, and behavioral rules while the paternity case is progressing.
A temporary order may be modified and is not necessarily the same order a court might decide upon at the end of the paternity proceeding. A Family Court Commissioner can enter a temporary support order and make provisions for custody and placement of the children.
In some cases, a temporary hearing and order are not needed because the parties can agree upon a temporary arrangement and reach a stipulation, which is a written agreement of the parties approved by the court, thus making it an order. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the Family Court Commissioner will hear evidence and issue a temporary order.
Mediation of Custody Disputes:
If you cannot resolve a parenting dispute, you will be court-ordered into mediation. A mediator is a professional skilled in dispute resolution, who will assist the parties in reaching an agreement regarding custody and placement of the children, if it is possible to do so.
Mediation is a confidential, cooperative process, and it is often successful in resolving parenting disputes. However, if mediation is unsuccessful in resolving important issues regarding the children, such as where they will live, then the court appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL), who is always an attorney. He or she interviews both parents to learn their positions on custody and placement, and may also interview third parties, such as teachers and babysitters.
The GAL ultimately makes a recommendation to the court as to which placement and custody arrangements are in the children’s best interests. Oftentimes, the GAL will share a preliminary recommendation with the parties to enable them to settle the dispute prior to trial. Psychological evaluations of the parties, and the children, may be recommended if there are mental health concerns, or a history of substance abuse problems. In this event, the psychologist may also make a recommendation as to custody and placement of the children. Although these recommendations are important, the ultimate decision always rests with the judge.
This information is intended to be viewed as general information. Your individual situation or needs require consultation with the advice of an attorney. We are here to help you today.