Five Major Issues in Family Court Actions
Physical placement refers to where a child lives or spends time. Placement was formerly called visitation. If the parties cannot agree on placement, they will be referred to mediation. If mediation is not successful, a Guardian ad litem will be appointed and a custody study will be ordered. The Court's ultimate determination will be based upon the factors found at §767.41(5)(am) of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Custody refers to the right to make major decisions for a child. Major decisions include, but are not limited to:
- Decisions regarding consent to marry
- Consent to enter military service
- Consent to obtain a motor vehicle operator's license
- Authorization for non-emergency health care
- Choice of school and religion
If the parties cannot agree on custody, they will be referred to mediation. If mediation is not successful, a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed and a custody study will be ordered. The Court's ultimate determination will be based upon the factors found at §767.41(5)(am) of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Child support is the obligation of a parent to provide support to a child and is based upon a percentage of gross income standard. The standard is:
- 17% for One Child
- 25% for Two Children
- 29% for Three Children
- 31% for Four Children
- 34% for Five or More Children
However, upon the request of a party, the Court may deviate from the percentage standards if it is found to be unfair after consideration of the factors found at §767.511(1m) of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Additionally, the following special circumstances may warrant a deviation from the percentage standard: A serial family situation where a payer has children living in more than one household. A shared placement family where both parents have placement for at least 92 overnights a year. If the payer's earning capacity is below established limits. If the payer's earns more than $84,000 per year. The guidelines for these circumstance are set forth in DWD 40.44.
Maintenance, which was formerly called alimony, is the payment from one spouse to another for spousal support. Maintenance broadly involves two objectives: to support the recipient spouse in accordance with the needs and earning capacities of the parties (the support objective) and to ensure a fair and equitable financial arrangement between the parties in each individual case (the fairness objective). The factors the Court will consider when determining maintenance issues are found at §767.56 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
There is a presumption that all property is to be divided equally. However, gifted or inherited property is generally excepted from this presumption. The factors the Court will consider when determining property division issues are found at §767.61 of the Wisconsin Statutes.