Child Custody: 5 Legal Terms You MUST Know

Little daughter closing dads eyes with hands and laughing after child custody caseEvery state has different regulations regarding child custody; Wisconsin is no different.  That’s why it’s important to contact a lawyer when you have questions about your current or future child custodial issues, find out your rights, and the processes needed for your specific child custody case (some cases can be settled without going to court).  When you do contact a local attorney for your case, be prepared for these child custody and child support terms to come up during your consultation.

Sole Legal Custody

Legal custody does not mean the child is physically with you at all times, but it does mean full decision-making rights for all major decisions for the child. This could include where to send the child to school, religious preferences, or choosing their primary physician.

Joint Legal Custody

If this term comes up during your child custody proceedings, this means that both parties have the right to make major decisions for the child TOGETHER.  This arrangement means that each custodial party (typically each parent) needs to consult with each other on decisions that are above and beyond routine daily decisions.

Physical Placement

Physical placement is just what it says: a schedule of where the child lives if more than one party is granted placement, or the place where the child resides if there is one.  If you find that the other party/parent is not participating in the placement schedule—not taking the child as the schedule dictates—keep track of the dates and times missed. Contact your lawyer to have the placement schedule modified.

Child Support

Child support is the amount ordered by the court that a party should pay to cover the needs of the child or children.  Child support is not always determined by physical placement; the amount and party ordered to pay is decided by the court.  Child support payments can be used for costs related to sheltering the child (i.e. mortgage, rent, utility bills, etc.) or expenses directly related to the child’s care (i.e. clothing, food, etc.)  Non-cash child support can also be ordered in the form of health insurance.

Child Visitation

This is the right to visit the child, on a schedule or with stipulations ordered by the court. Parents, grandparents, or other significant parties can be granted child visitation.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

4 Reasons You Should Contact a Lawyer for your OWI

glass of beer drank right before being picked up for an OWIDrinking and driving may seem trivial, but the consequences can be serious—and not always readily apparent at the time.  A few beers, a failed field sobriety test, or a high test can lead to jail time, loss of driving privileges, significant financial losses, and increased insurance premiums, just to name a few.

In 2003, Wisconsin lowered the blood alcohol content level for all drivers to .08.  If you are one of those drivers accused of operating a vehicle with a BAC above that level, you can plead guilty and accept the penalties (if you are clear what those are-don’t be hesitant to ask) or you can consult a lawyer to find out what other options are available to you, such as plea bargaining or sentence bargaining.  Every situation is different (both facts and financially), so it’s up to you to decide whether to consult a lawyer to work on your behalf.  There are certain situations, however, where it’s clear that hiring a lawyer is in your best interest.

You have previous offenses on your record.

If this is not your first serious driving offense, or you have a previous DUI, OWI, or DWI on your record, the stakes are higher this time around.  Second offenses, or offenses that involve minors, can carry possible jail time.  In addition, your second or consecutive offenses can mean a significant financial investment in other equipment required by your local enforcement agency (i.e. devices in your vehicles, home, etc.) Contacting a lawyer can give you exact information about penalties and any possible options that may be available to your specific situation.

Your BAC was twice the legal limit.

If your BAC was .15 or higher, the penalties for your offense are likely to be stricter (even if your first offense).  In this situation, a lawyer may be able to assist you in sentence negotiations that could lessen your costs, time served, and any other penalties—depending on your situation.  The good news is that finding out the specific penalties and options may be free if the lawyer you contact offers a free consultation.  Here’s how to make the most of your time with your lawyer so you don’t waste your—or your lawyer’s—time.

Someone was injured or killed as a result of your DUI.

If someone in your vehicle or the other vehicle was injured or killed, the proverbial legal ballgame has changed.  Depending on your driving history, seriousness of the injuries, and facts of the accident, you could face mandatory jail time and up to $10,000 in fines (as well as other costs stemming from the offense). Contacting a lawyer is a good idea in this case, both because of the seriousness of the penalties and the potential options that your lawyer may be aware of.

You have a job that requires a clean driving record.

If your livelihood is on the line, your penalties could have life-altering implications especially if your job involves significant driving.  In this case, it makes “cents” to contact a lawyer to find out your options so you can increase your chances of possibly keeping your license and livelihood.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.