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Restraining orders: where family law and criminal law intersect

Seeking a restraining order or protection order in Wisconsin can be a matter of criminal law, as the order protects you from criminal behavior such as battery, sexual assault, harassment or stalking. However, a restraining order can also be a matter of family law, as the person threatening you or your children may be a current or former spouse or significant other. At the Mayer Law Office, we recognize the unique legal position that restraining orders can occupy in family law cases. 

There is a two-part process for obtaining a restraining order in the case of unwanted physical contact or other threatening behavior. First, you obtain a temporary protection order from the court. The temporary protection order will prevent the other person from coming within 500 feet of your workplace or home, contacting you in any way, or engaging in any other threatening or harassing behavior towards you. 

When businesses are split up along with a marriage

Sometimes Wisconsin couples go into business together. However, if the marriage should fall apart, in many instances the business partnership of the spouses goes with it. So what should you do if you and your spouse possess ownership in the same company? If you do not feel you and your spouse can run the business after the divorce, you should try to work out an amicable way to settle the fate of your business.

If you can, try to plan what would happen to your business before you get divorced or even before you get married. Since many couples start a business during the course of their marriage, a prenuptial agreement will not be possible. However, a report on CBSNews.com points out that a couple can still work out an arrangement, such as a shareholder agreement, that dictates what happens to the company if the couple should split up. Such an agreement can include an option for one of the spouses to sell off their ownership to the other at a predetermined price.

What is the difference between visitation and custody?

The difference between custody and visitation rights in Wisconsin is one of the most misunderstood topics in family law in the state. If you do not understand it right away, that is completely normal. However, if you were going through a divorce, this would be an important point on which to educate yourself.

The future of your children would likely be among the primary concerns in your divorce case. Your abilities to reflect on your current schedule with your child and assess your future availability for family time could both help you create an informed request for visitation and custody. If you feel this is too daunting of a task to perform alone, you could ask a family member or a trusted advisor to help you.

What should I do if Child Protective Services knocks?

Almost nothing can be more insulting, embarrassing and infuriating than being accused of being an unfit parent. It can also be frightening for Wisconsin parents when CPS demands to inspect the home. If CPS knocks on your door, you might worry that your children could be taken away, regardless of how clean and well-maintained your home is. You might also wonder about your legal rights.

These fears are not necessarily unfounded, as FindLaw explains. A social worker from CPS has the ability to remove children from the home and disrupt your family if he or she has cause, real or imagined, to believe the children’s well-being is threatened. So, what should you do when you get an unexpected visit from Child Protective Services? The following tips may help:

  • Remain calm and ask to see the CPS worker’s identification.
  • Inform the social worker that you need to see a warrant before you will admit him or her into your home.
  • During the inspection, remain civil but do not be overly friendly or offer more information than what the social worker asks.

What does “fruit of the poisonous tree” mean?

If you face any kind of Wisconsin criminal charges, you should familiarize yourself with the fruit of the poisonous tree legal doctrine. Why? Because it could help you in your criminal defense.

As Law Teacher explains, “fruit of the poisonous tree” actually is a metaphor. It stands for the proposition that if law enforcement officers use unconstitutional methods to obtain evidence against you, that evidence cannot be used against you in a court of law. In other words, “fruit” stands for the evidence itself; “poisonous tree” stands for the methods by which officers gathered it.

UW-Madison's disciplinary action raises questions of due process

When a university student is the target of investigation for alleged wrongdoing by law enforcement as well as university authorities, handling the allegations of misconduct independently of the criminal justice process is a standard practice at many universities across the country, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison. However, a student-athlete arraigned last week on two counts of sexual assault and facing possible expulsion over the alleged incident is suing the university on the grounds that continuing disciplinary action while he challenges criminal charges stemming from the alleged incident is a violation of his right to due process. 

The alleged sexual assault occurred in April, and at the end of August, following a university-imposed suspension from the football team, authorities charged the 20-year-old athlete with one count of third-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated victim. Two women alleged sexual assault by the wide receiver at his apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

Ordered to use an ignition interlock system? Here's how it works

If you find yourself under arrest for driving while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you can expect to face serious penalties if a court convicts you. These may include hundreds in fines and fees, mandatory counseling, and months of license suspension for your first offense.

If your blood alcohol concentration is .15 or higher or this is not your first OWI, you will have the additional penalty of installing an ignition interlock system in your vehicle once you get your license reinstated. You may find it helpful to understand how an ignition interlock system, also called a car breathalyzer, will work in your vehicle.

What is involved in an adoption home study?

Adopting a child in Wisconsin is a process that can cause you a great deal of excitement and trepidation. One of the most important steps in the process, and therefore one that is most likely to cause you anxiety, is the home study. 

According to FindLaw, part of the purpose for the home study is ensure that you, as the prospective parent(s) are able to provide a safe and stable home. While home study requirements vary from state to state, each state is very serious about the role it plays in protecting children, and the investigation conducted in the home study helps determine if you are fit to raise an adoptive child.

Finding a job after an arrest

It is not uncommon for people in Wisconsin to have found themselves in situations where they are placed under arrest. Even if a person is not ultimately convicted of a crime, the experience can be trying and leave someone concerned about their future. One consideration for people is how they will get a job if they have an arrest on their record and especially if they have a conviction on their record.

The good news is that it is possible to find a new job after a criminal arrest or conviction. There may be extra steps a person should take and U.S. News and World Report suggests that developing a strong network and set of references is one way to help people in this situation. These people may provide leads on open positions as well as be able to attest to a person's professional work and character.

Wisconsin’s collateral consequences for criminal convictions

Anytime you receive a conviction for a criminal offense in Wisconsin, you face penalties, and while some possible penalties, such as jail time, fines or community service, may come directly from the court system, others are more civil in nature. Known as “collateral consequences,” these potential other repercussions you may face after a criminal conviction can still have a considerable impact on your life. At Mayer Law Office, LLC, we are well-versed in the collateral consequences that exist in Wisconsin, and we have helped many people facing criminal charges work to lessen their impact.

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Council, you may face collateral consequences after receiving a conviction for a particular crime, or receiving a conviction for something that falls within a certain class of criminal activity. For example, one collateral consequence you will face, if convicted of any type of felony, is an ability to vote in any election until you either complete your sentence or receive a pardon.

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