We've been there before.
Family law often involves complex financial, legal and emotional terrain. At Forward Legal, we know this landscape well, as we’ve helped thousands of families find their way. Our compassionate, strategic & forward-thinking family law attorneys are ready to jump in and help you and your family navigate your situation.
When dealing with issues that have the potential to significantly impact your family members, both now and in the years to come, you need the right guide. Let us be your guide.
We've been there before.
Family law matters we can help with…
Determining child custody, placement & support for parents who never married.
If the parents were never married, the issues of the child’s custody, placement and support are addressed in the context of a legal proceeding known as a paternity action. The legal process is different from a divorce but the substantive law impacting the legal issues involving the child are the same.
The Court will decide custody and placement of the child based on the best interests of the child. The child support is most likely determined by the applicable Child Support Standards which involve either a percentage of the payer’s income or a formula that is based on each parent’s placement time and incomes.
Grandparent's Visitation Rights
Establishing visitation for grandparents and unrelated adults with close familial bonds.
Grandparents and other limited relatives may have the right to seek visitation with a child under several state statutes.
It is not unusual for grandparents to have lived with their grandchildren and develop a close bond with them. If the parent later refuses to allow the grandparent to spend time with the grandchild, the grandparent can seek visitation of the grandchild.
Grandparent visitation law has recently evolved in the last few years. For an excellent overview of the law based on a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, please read Attorney Christopher Krimmer’s article in the Wisconsin Lawyer.
Dissolution of Relationships
Equitably ending long-standing romantic relationships for unmarried couples.
Many people choose to not marry for a variety of reasons but have been in long term romantic relationship with someone. If the partners lived together and shared finances, there are legal and equitable remedies to resolving any disputes regarding the allocation of property or the interest accrued in the house during the parties’ cohabitation. This is true even if one partner’s name is not on the deed of the house or accounts.
Unlike a divorce, there is no presumption that the property of the parties is to be divided equally. The Court can distribute the property equitably if certain facts and circumstances of the parties’ relationship are present. The legal and equitable claims available to a partner whose relationship has ended include partition, unjust enrichment, implied contract and conversion. Our attorneys will sit down with you to discuss each of these claims and can help identify your options.
In addition to finances, if you have established a parent-like relationship with the child of your partner but never formalized your own legal relationship with the child through adoption or marriage, you may be able to still seek visitation with the child after the end of your relationship with the child’s parent. Our attorneys have been litigating and handling these visitation claims for decades and are well versed in the applicable law.
Parent Coordinator Services
Helping parents navigate disputes after a legal case has been concluded.
The need to co-parent with the other parent does not end at the conclusion of your divorce or family law matter. Yet, often, the disagreements and disputes between the parents do not dissipate after the case.
A Parent Coordinator assists the parents by serving as the parents own “private judge” in deciding certain parenting disputes after the legal case has concluded and there are no longer attorneys involved to assist the parents. It is a fast, effective and less expensive process for the parents rather than the alternative of returning to Court time after time again over continued parenting issues. The Parent Coordinator can assist the parents in such disputes as to issues related to the children such as discipline, vacations, introduction of a parent’s significant other to the children, placement exchange locations, holiday travel or exchange times, minor modifications in the placement schedule, and custodial decisions such as the child’s healthcare, education and participation in extra-curricular activities.
Attorney Christopher Krimmer at Forward Legal Services serves as our Parent Coordinator who has over 25 years of legal experience in family law and conflict resolution.
Unique issues specific to the short history of legal marriage for the LBGT community.
The truth of the matter is same-sex marriage is simply marriage. The law should not distinguish between a same-sex marriage and an opposite-sex marriage. Nevertheless, the concept of two men or women marrying, and then subsequently divorce, is new for many judges and attorneys. Until our state law catches up to the fact that we have marriage equality, there are occasionally unique legal issues that arise only in same-sex marriages. For example, the significance of a premarital relationship spanning over several decades because the partners were denied the right to marry for many of those years could have more significance in the divorce than for an opposite-sex couple who cohabitated for decades but chose to not marry until later in the relationship.
Our attorneys are well versed in the applicable law and experienced in representing LGBT clients. Attorney Christopher Krimmer has been recognized as a Leader in the Law for his work in this area of the law, has written two books on the topic of Sexual Orientation and the Law, and has taught LGBT Law at Marquette University Law School for over 10 years. Judges and attorneys throughout the state consider him an expert in the area and have reached out to him for consultation on the topic.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
A prenup is a contract entered into prior to marriage. It can foster healthy communications about your finances from the beginning to prevent going through a divorce in the end.
Many couples want to enter marriage with a clear understanding of expectations and sacrifices that each partner will make in the marriage. The best way to memorialize these joint expectations as to finances is to enter into a Marital Property Agreement. The Marital Property Agreement can be signed prior to the marriage, a Prenuptial Agreement, or after the marriage, a Postnuptial Agreement. We generally recommend signing the agreement prior to the marriage since no rights have been established due to the marriage at that time. Marital Property Agreements are often beneficial to clients who are entering into a second marriage; when one party owns a family business; when there is a significant disparity in assets and income of the parties; and when a client has children from a prior marriage.
A Marital Property Agreement does not mean that you or your fiancé believe the marriage is bound for divorce. Rather, it is an opportunity to discuss expectations regarding your finances which can often avoid conflict and stress regarding your finances during the marriage. And, yes, in the unlikely event of your marriage ending in divorce, it is an important document that can minimize acrimony and conflict during the divorce.