Family Law

The family law attorneys of Herrick & Hart help people in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, Hudson, Rice Lake, Superior, Wausau, LaCrosse, and everywhere in between, resolve issues involved in divorce; such as child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, and property settlement.


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 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, and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the area of adoption.


Child Support

Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of child support easier for America's single parents. Because every state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support and each has various methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue, it is often important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child support enforcement laws in your state.

In the state of Wisconsin, child support is set based upon two primary factors: The first is the placement schedule. If one parent has primary placement then there are guideline percentages for child support, i.e., 17% of gross income for one child; 25% of gross income for two children, 29% of gross income for three children, etc. If the parents fall into what is called "shared placement" then there is a different formula. Shared placement means that each parent has at least 92 overnight placements with the children per year. If the parents fall into the shared placement category then there is a comparison of the mother's income and the father's income under a specific formula based upon the percentage of overnights each parent has. Again, child support is based upon gross income of the parent or parents and gross income is broadly defined to include just about every source of income.

The second primary factor in setting child support other than the placement schedule as indicated above is the income of each parent. The income of new spouses or significant others is not directly considered however the court has the option of considering the parties' total economic resources in determining whether a party should pay the requisite guideline amount for child support.

Child support is not directly related to custody. Typically parents have joint custody of their children however even if one parent has sole custody, child support can still be ordered depending on the placement schedule. Some people think that joint custody means equal placement. This is not the case. The first question in determining child support is what is the placement schedule and the second primary question is the gross incomes of the parties.

If you have questions about the child support laws in your state, the rules for child support collection and enforcement that apply to your particular situation, or the process to establish paternity, contact a family law attorney at our firm to schedule a consultation.


Deciding to pursue divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions you will ever make, particularly if you have children. Divorce also involves financial matters that must be resolved and legal issues that must be addressed. A family law attorney at our firm can help you to understand the basic issues involved in divorce and to use a rational approach to the divorce process.

Custody and Visitation

When parents divorce, it is important to learn about the child custody and visitation options that are available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a family law attorney can often make the difference.


Marriage is a voluntary, private contract between two adults. While it is a personal and emotional commitment, it is also a legal relationship that changes the legal status of both parties. A family law attorney at our firm can help you to understand the legal technicalities of marriage.

Lawyer Profiles: Family Law

Meet our specialists in the areas of Family Law, including divorce, paternity, adoption, child support, custody, and more.