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Family Law

Marital | Premarital | Cohabitation

It is important to understand Family Law. Couples who are planning to cohabitate or marry should consider working with an attorney to draft a premarital or cohabitation agreement.  Such an agreement will help establish a framework for handling financial and property issues that arise.  By addressing these issues early, you may avoid conflict in the future.  To find out how our firm can work with you to address your family law needs, contact Attorney Richard Missimer to schedule a free phone consultation at   (262) 565-8200.

Legal issues affecting the well-being of your family may be frightening and confusing.  At Missimer Law, S.C., our attorneys understand how difficult these matters can be; and we work diligently to provide comprehensive and understanding legal assistance to families in Southeastern Wisconsin who are struggling with divorce, child custody, support disputes, or even joint or individual bankruptcy.  With your family’s best interests always in mind, our attorneys offer you the assistance you need to guide your family through the proceedings and help them move forward with their lives as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

To better serve your needs, we have compiled a family law databank, found below. Please contact our office online or call 262-565-8200 to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation regarding your specific family law concerns. Learn how we can help!

Family Law – An Overview

Family law is the term applied to the laws and rules developed regarding family relationships.  Family law rules define not only the relationships between members of a family, but also between a family and society as a whole.  More than any other area of the law, family law reflects the values society shares regarding how people who are related should treat each other.  When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney at Missimer Law, S.C. in Janesville, Wisconsin, often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter.

Typically, family law attorneys assist people in making and breaking family relationships.  Specific areas of representation include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, paternity, child custody, child placement, and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the areas of adoption or grandparents’ rights.


Marriage is a legal and business union as much as it is a romantic one.  Because marriage is a legal and business arrangement, it may be wise to consult with an attorney at Missimer Law, S.C. about the advantages of premarital and prenuptial agreements.  Many couples find it helpful to work through financial issues and the potential disagreements such issues may create before entering into a marriage.


Divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract.  From a legal standpoint, divorce restores an individual’s right to marry someone else.  The process also legally divides marital assets and debts and determines the care and custody of the children.  Each state addresses these issues differently. Most states, however, follow the same basic principles and use relatively uniform standards.

In some states, you may need to prove fault, commonly referred to as grounds, to obtain a divorce. But, the majority of states allow at least one form of no-fault divorce in which the spouses are not required to prove who caused the marriage’s breakdown.  If no-fault grounds for divorce are available, you or your spouse may obtain a divorce, even if one of you does not consent to the divorce.  In some states, both fault and no-fault divorce are available.

In most divorces, the primary issues to be decided are alimony or spousal support, property division and, if there are children, child custody, child placement, and child support.  When spouses agree on how to resolve these issues, they can usually obtain a divorce quickly.  But in many cases, divorcing spouses have disputes regarding their post-marriage financial arrangements and the care and custody of their children.  Property division and alimony are often hotly-contested issues in divorce proceedings, but the early advice of a family law attorney may be able to impact the ultimate result favorably.


Paternity law, or father law, deals with establishing or disputing “paternity”, the legal relationship between a father and his child.

A child born to the wife during a marriage is presumed to be the husband’s child. This presumption, however, may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary, generally prior to a formal court ruling involving divorce, annulment, or legal separation.

Further, a man may come forward and accept paternity of a child. This is voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

Finally, the mother, the government, or even the man who believes he is the father may file a court action to determine a child’s paternity.

Child Custody and Placement

The care and upbringing of children following a divorce is often an ongoing source of conflict for parents.  Physical placement refers to where the child resides on any given day or time.  Legal custody refers to the allocation of legal rights and responsibilities associated with the child’s upbringing; in other words, custody is the right to make decisions regarding the child – where the child attends school, the child’s religion, the child’s doctor, etc.

Sometimes, the parents agree to an arrangement; sometimes ,the court determines one for them. In the past, courts routinely gave mothers primary physical placement and gave fathers more limited visitation rights.  Today, courts recognize there are times when it is in the children’s best interests to reside with the father and reverse the roles of the parents.  In general, the courts favor joint, on-going child-rearing responsibilities, with the children residing where it is most practical and where they will flourish.  The advice and assistance of a family law attorney, like Richard Missimer, can help parents establish custody and placement agreements focusing on the children’s best interests.

Family Law Resource Links

Waukesha County – Family Court Self-Help Center
Forms and procedural guidance on various family law matters, including, but not limited to, divorce, child support, post-judgment modifications, and grandparents’ visitation rights.

Wisconsin Court Forms for Family Law Cases
State-approved forms and instructions for pre-judgment and post-judgment family law matters.

Child Support Statutes
The laws governing child support calculations in Wisconsin.

Divorce Statutes
The laws governing divorce in Wisconsin.

American Bar Association – Section of Family Law
Tables and summaries addressing differences in state laws and requirements for divorce, child support, and other important family law issues.

The Legal Information Institute – Family Law Topics
Statutes, case law, and articles covering a variety of family law topics.

Office of Child Support Enforcement (CSE)
Information on services related to locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, establishing support orders, and collecting support payments.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC), the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families.

Children’s Rights Council
A nonprofit organization devoted to helping kids experience the frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with two parents and extended family that a child would normally have during a marriage.

Attorney Richard S Missimer

Richard_MissimerHe has been practicing law since 2006. He graduated from Marquette University Law School, sitting right next to Karyn. Richard focuses on Family Law, Divorce, CHiPs, and Bankruptcy. Richard’s decades of family law, business, accounting, and tax experience make him an ideal attorney for such cases. If you are looking for a compassionate and knowledgeable Divorce or Family Lawyer, look no further. Richard’s phone number is (262)565-8200.

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