Practice Areas

Divorce

We provide complete representation for parties in divorce actions which involve disputes over custody and placement of children, property division and financial support for parties and their children. The firm offers more than 30 years of experience in this area. Attorney John P. Schuster has been named one of Dane County’s best divorce attorneys by Madison Magazine™.

Family Law

Includes representation of parents and children in disputes about custody and placement issues, after judgments have been entered. This area includes serious issues related to the removal of children from the jurisdiction, violations of custody and placement orders, custody or placement revisions necessitated by substantial changes in circumstances, actions to modify existing support orders and representation of parties in paternity actions.

Paternity Actions

Including actions to establish parental rights, and to establish or modify custody and placement awards in cases where the parents were never married.

Mediation

Mediation is a cooperative problem solving process during which a neutral professional helps parties to a legal dispute to reach agreements which are in the best interest of all concerned, including the family and children in family court cases. Mediators do not take sides or make decisions for the parties, but help the participants themselves to resolve their misunderstandings outside of the court system.

John P. Schuster is a founding member of the Dane County Bar Project on mediation and was recently named in Madison Magazine™ as one of Dane County’s top lawyers in alternative dispute resolution. Mediation of disputes about custody and placement issues, or about financial matters, including property division and divorce are conducted. We are committed to the proposition that the best conflict resolution comes from lasting agreements of the parties, rather than court imposed orders.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism which provides authority to a third party professional to make decisions in cases where parties prefer to avoid the cost of litigation in the court process. Arbitration can be an abbreviated trial, or an informal process by which the parties minimize litigation expenses, or even avoid the need for legal representation. Arbitration provides an informal and prompt alternative for parties who have continuing disputes in family law cases, or otherwise.

Guardianship

We represent individuals who are seeking temporary or permanent guardianship of a child. Such situations may include adults who are providing a home for a student for the school year, and grand parents who, for various reasons, have taken over the care of their grandchildren.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR):

Termination of parental rights cases can be either voluntary or involuntary. When a parent wishes to legally end his or her parental relationship with their child (for example, to permit the child to be adopted by a step parent) this can be done voluntarily.

An involuntary TPR petition may be filed by the corporation counsel (the county’s lawyer) or the district attorney, for any of the following reasons:

  1. The parent has abandoned the child
  2. The court has found that the child is in need of protection or services (a CHIPS finding) and the court has placed the child outside the parent’s home for six months or longer and the parent has failed to meet the conditions established by the court for the safe return of the child to the parent’s home, and there is a substantial likelihood that the parent will not meet these conditions within the next 12 months
  3. The parent has failed to stay in contact with the child
  4. If the court has denied the parent placement time with the child
  5. The parent has failed to assume his or her responsibilities as a parent, including the support of a child. The parent against whom such a petition has been filed has a right to a trial before a jury or the judge.
Step-parent Adoption

We represent individuals who seek to adopt a stepchild. Of course this process requires that one of the child’s biological parent’s rights be terminated prior to an adoption and this is frequently accomplished through a voluntary termination of parental rights process.

Domestic Violence

We defend and prosecute domestic violence, child abuse and harassment injunctions. Such matters often have serious implications for child custody and placement issues.