Dodge County Family Law Attorney in Beaver Dam
Family law is a unique area of practice focused on divorce, paternity, custody and placement issues, child support, maintenance, and grandparent placement. Attorney Dawn Gergen specializes in the area of family law. She brings over 30 years of experience practicing in Dodge County and the surrounding counties in southeastern Wisconsin. She has represented many husbands, wives, parents, and grandparents in difficult family matters.
If you are in the midst of a family change, you may need a legal representative on your side. Dawn Gergen handles all family law cases including:
- Divorce: During a divorce, most individuals opt for legal representation so that they understand what the legal ramifications are for any agreements they are asked to sign or for any position they want to take in the court process. Dawn Gergen has ample experience in negotiating the terms of a divorce settlement including property division, child custody and placement, child support, maintenance and other issues. Even in amicable divorces, the parties need to know what their rights are, and what the ramifications are to any agreements they want to make. The appropriate and competent drafting of important legal documents such as the parties’ financial disclosure statements and the marital settlement agreement is especially important to protect the interests of each party. If after negotiation, you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement, Dawn Gergen has represented many clients in divorce trials to the Court. The remarks of some of these clients are featured in the testimonials on this website.
- Child Custody and Placement: Legal custody means the right to make major decisions about children. In Wisconsin, major decisions include non-emergency healthcare, choice of school and religion. Legal custody can be joint or sole. In Wisconsin, “legal custody” means decision making, it does not mean where the children live. It does not designate placement. Physical placement means where the children live, with whom and during what period of time. Court orders regarding physical placement can either be very general or specific. Over the course of her career, Dawn Gergen has worked out many different physical placement arrangements for her clients and has tried the issues of physical placement to the court when an agreement could not be reached.
- Paternity: In many cases, the parents of a child have never married. This generally results in a paternity action being filed in circuit court. In the paternity action, the paternity of the child would first be established and then the issues of legal custody, physical placement, child support, who claims the child as a tax deduction, what parent covers the health insurance for the child and other issues need to be resolved. Most paternity actions are commenced by the county child support agency. Dawn Gergen has also commenced paternity actions on behalf of her clients and paternity acknowledgment actions in circuit courts where no action has yet been filed.
- Child Support: Child support is the court order which provides for the financial support of minor children. In Wisconsin, there are child support guidelines contained in the Wisconsin Administrative Rules, in Chapter DCF 150. The calculation of child support in any particular case depends upon the child’s placement schedule and the earnings for each of the parents. Child support can sometimes become a complex subject in situations where there is shared placement or a serial family or where a party’s earnings are not easily determined. Ultimately, circuit courts are given discretion in family law cases in establishing child support, taking into consideration all relevant factors.
- Maintenance: Maintenance, or spousal support (formerly known as alimony), can be ordered by a court in a divorce action taking into account the relevant facts of any particular case. The award of maintenance is spelled out in the Wisconsin Statutes and is the subject of many cases brought before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals. Unlike the area of child support, there are no formulas for a court to calculate maintenance or spousal support. This is why it is important to have an attorney with experience to guide you through the process of a maintenance case. Dawn Gergen has handled many maintenance negotiations in divorce actions and has tried maintenance issues to the court.
- Grandparent Placement: Dawn Gergen has represented many grandparents to obtain placement or even custody of their grandchildren. Grandparents have different rights under the Wisconsin Statutes depending upon the facts of a particular case. Dawn has assisted many grandparents with these family issues either through negotiation or, sometimes, through a litigated matter in court.
- Guardianship: The law of guardianship is governed by Wisconsin Statute Chapter 54. Dawn Gergen has brought several guardianship actions for clients. She has obtained guardianships for grandparents of grandchildren, parents who need to establish guardianship over their adult children who are developmentally delayed and for adult children whose parents no longer can manage their own affairs.
Do You Need a Family Law Lawyer in Beaver Dam?
To us, family law is about improving our clients’ lives and relationship before, during, and after life changes. If you are going through a significant legal change, contact our Beaver Dam, WI office by calling Gergen, Gergen & Pretto at (920) 887-0371. We have 30 years of practice experience inside and outside of the courtroom.