Latest Posts

  • 11 Tough Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Family Law Attorney

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    How long have you practiced law in Wisconsin?

    What percentage of your practice is devoted to family law and divorce?

    Will you send me a free copy of Divorce Mistakes That Could Cost You a Fortune?

    Are you a member of the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers?

    Are you a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association?

    Have you previously represented people in situations like mine?

    Do you have an AV rating, the highest rating offered by the international legal directory Martindale-Hubbell for legal skills, integrity and honesty?

    If I ask you to represent me, will you give me your home telephone number and cell phone number so I can reach you any time I have an emergency?

    If you’re away from the office, will someone in your office know about my case if I need help in your absence?

    Will you discuss my case with me over the telephone?

    How many trials have you conducted in the last five (5) years?

  • Maximize Income in DivorceThrough the Use of Family Support

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    Characterizing maintenance and child support jointly as family support allows the total payment to be tax deductible by the payor and taxable to the recipient spouse.  The entire payment is treated the same as maintenance.  In order to take advantage of the classification of maintenance and child support as family support, the following criteria must be met pursuant to sec. 71 of the Internal Revenue Code:1.  The payments must be cash, ie., checks or money orders.
    2.  The payments must be pursuant to a divorce or separation agreement.
    3.  The parties must not be members of the same household at the time the payments are made.
    4.  There is no liability to make a payment after the death of the payee spouse.

    A family support agreement must be carefully drafted to avoid future tax consequences.

  • Medicare Secondary Payer

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    The Medicare Secondary Payer Act was passed in 1980 to reduce Medicare spending by prohibiting Medicare from making payment when another entity possesses an obligation to pay for medical treatment.  The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 added mandatory provisions for insurers to report settlements or open claims.

  • Earning Capacity and the Economy

    By: Linda S. Vanden Heuvel

    The economy has made determination of earning capacity a much more difficult analysis. People both in and out of the job market are being forced to take cuts in pay or to alter their job requirements and plans. The question is whether or not maintenance calculations should be based on what a person actually earns or should be based on a person’s earning potential or earning capacity based on that person’s education, experience, qualifications and job marketability. It is not enough to look at past 2-W-2s or paychecks. The economy plays a role. In this writer’s opinion, earning capacity is not merely the job for which the person is qualified, but also the job the person can actually obtain in today’s job market. Earning capacity has been defined as “not an amount which a person can theoretically earn, nor is it combined to actual income, but rather it is an amount which a person can realistically be expected to earn considering vocational skills, age and health.” Availability of jobs is also a significant factor.