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Mediation in Family Law

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Mediation is a tool used by the courts in many types of family law cases.

Mediation is used during the divorce process, to settle disputes between two parents that are not married and to settle matters between the parties after the divorce is over. The role of a mediator is to be a neutral party that can be objective, and help you and your spouse or child's parent communicate effectively and find a way to meet in the middle, so to speak. When you file a case in the family court, you are usually automatically ordered to attend a session of mediation with a court appointed mediator. In other cases, you and the opposing party can hire a private mediator, who is usually a retired judge or a very experienced attorney. Let's take a look at a few scenarios and see how mediation could be of use. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.


During the Divorce Process

Scenario #1


How to Start a Divorce in Wisconsin

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“I want a divorce.”

We all hate those words in that combination. We never want to hear them, but many of us have, either directly or indirectly.

If only saying those words can make a divorce happen, like spreading magic dust or saying “Beetlejuice” three times. Alas, divorce is not easy, and in some ways it should not be that easy. A marriage is a legal contract, after all.

To break that contract takes preparation. Before you utter those words, you should know about legal steps to take to get a divorce in Wisconsin


Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

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Are you nervous about the cost to file for divorce in Wisconsin?

If you've already made the difficult decision to sever a relationship with a spouse, it may help to know that costs vary widely depending on how a divorce is contested.

Regardless of whether your Wisconsin divorce is contested or uncontested, having an attorney that will represent you with confidence makes all the difference. Many clients in Dane, Columbia, Rock, Sauk, Jefferson and Green counties have chosen John T. Fields & Associates to handle their legal situation. A trusted firm with deep knowledge of the law, our attorneys do not stop until you receive the best possible settlement in a divorce case.

A divorce settlement can be reached with or without a trial. As a general rule, costs associated with uncontested divorce in Wisconsin run significantly lower than contested cases.


Making the decision to file for divorce is never easy.

When a relationship falters and seems beyond the point of repair, it might make sense for both parties to legally part ways. While difficult, certain factors can make filing for divorce less of a burden. It certainly pays to have the preparation and determination of an experienced Madison divorce lawyer. An adequate legal representative must have keen familiarity with all Wisconsin divorce laws that may impact a case.

Understanding Wisconsin divorce laws

For those wondering if they actually have legal grounds for a divorce in Wisconsin, it's important to understand that Wisconsin is a “no fault” divorce state. This means the petitioner, or the person filing for divorce, doesn't need to prove any wrongdoing from the other party. Irreconcilable differences, or irretrievable breakdown, is the only ground required when filing.

Before looking into how to get a divorce, it helps to understand the residency requirements of Wisconsin divorce law. At least one spouse must have legal residency in the state of Wisconsin for 6 months prior to filing. They also need to be legal residents of the county in which they file for at least 30 days.


How Do Wisconsin Courts Decide Child Custody?

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Children are perhaps the most at risk for trauma in a divorce, legal separation or custody case.

This is why, in Wisconsin, the child's best interests are always considered first. The courts in Wisconsin handle custody cases in a conciliatory way, where the first presumption is that it is in the best interest of the child to have equal contact and visitation with both parents.

Joint custody is the initial presumption, and developments during a custody proceeding may or may not push the judge to issue sole custody and visitation to one parent over the other based on various circumstances and factors

Child Custody and Placement

Some of the vital decisions before a Wisconsin family court will involve custody and placement. Custody is the legal right of a parent (or both parents in a joint-custody case) to make major life and legal decisions about their child(ren), including school, religious beliefs and worship attendance, getting a driver's license or consent to marry as examples.

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