Good Neighbors. Great Lawyers.


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5 classic divorce mistakes to avoid

Sadly, happily-ever-after does not always happen, a reason many couples find themselves in court to dissolve what once appeared to be so promising.

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Gym memberships constitute legal contracts

I want to join a gym to help me get in shape for the new year, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about people who join and then can’t quit.

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Four tips for timing your divorce

There’s a lot that should go into timing decisions—considerations that can make a big difference in the outcome.

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10 Great Gifts for Lawyers

If you count a lawyer amongst your loved ones, check out some of these legal-themed surprises you might want to add to shopping list.

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Planned Giving: Should we leave our favorite charity a percentage or specific dollar amount

Attorney Katelyn Doyle recommends using a percentage rather than a dollar amount in your will.

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Four considerations for people Googling "divorce" after Christmas

Google searches for the word “divorce” show a notable decrease in the weeks leading up to Christmas and a significant increase in the 10 days following. If you find yourself contributing to these Google search patterns, you may find these tips helpful.

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Full Disclosure with Tony Gingrasso

While Tony Gingrasso's the same smart, compassionate and steadfast guy both inside and outside the office, we bet you didn’t know these three personal facts about him.


Divestment: Understanding legal alternatives

With nursing home costs now topping $100,000 per year, it’s no wonder many seniors need the help of Medical Assistance or Medicaid when they hit a major health crisis.

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Thanksgiving and retail battles leave employees without many options

With Thanksgiving comes the ultimate battle to see which retailer can be first to kick off Black Friday.

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Users Guide to Divorce

A booklet full of insider knowledge and tips to help you move through divorce.

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Weird Halloween laws to make you cackle

From costumes, to masks, to trick-or-treat tort, there's no shortage of laws addressing all things Halloween.

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Protected classes: when letting go of an employee gets complicated

What happens when you need to terminate someone for cause but it appears to be discriminatory?

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Divorce: what does administrative dismissal mean?

In family courts in this region (southwestern Wisconsin), cases are dismissed for two reasons.

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Top six myths about personal injury cases

A lot of common beliefs about personal injury cases are really just myths. 

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Full disclosure: Brent Smith

His is a familiar face to many. But how much do you really know about our managing partner Brent Smith?


Can you speak legalese? Test your knowledge of legal lingo [Quiz]

Take this quiz to gauge your knowledge of legal terms.

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Substance abuse affects child custody and visitation decisions

Divorces where one partner abuses drugs or alcohol can be especially complicated when child custody and placement decisions are involved.

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Wisconsin businesses: trade secret misappropriation could end your career

A case earlier this year is serving as a warning shot to would-be trade secret blabbers.  

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Judge Judy versus small claims court: a battle for the real people's court

Our top six comparisons between Judge Judy and the real deal, better known to us as small claims court.


Can I get overtime pay?

Overtime pay comes down to whether employees are considered exempt or nonexempt. 

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Full disclosure: Katelyn Doyle

Here's your chance to get to know our newest associate a little better.


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Student rights: yes, they have them

Students’ rights are no different from anyone else’s, but they may be balanced sometimes with the needs of the educational system and its mission. 

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Online shopping safety guide a must-read

Ninety-six percent of American adults have shopped online at some point. If you'e among them, are you staying safe?

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What qualifies as defamation?

Defamation is a tricky area, particularly as it pits harm to one’s reputation against free speech.

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5 reasons you should call your insurance company after a car accident

Many are reluctant to call their insurance company after an accident. Here's why they should call anyway.

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How to perform a citizen's arrest (and why it's best not to)

For all the talk, citizen’s arrests get very little action in the La Crosse area.

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In divorce and family law, Fido counts too

Some states now are enacting legislation to recognize pets as beings with feelings and emotions, and with that, family law is changing.

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Child custody: how can I get missing father's permission for international travel?

My 13-year-old daughter hasn't had contact with her father for several years (we don't know where he is). My husband and I want to take her on vacation, but I recently learned that to take her in and out of the country, she needs a notarized letter of consent from her father.. 

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Full Disclosure: Brian Weber

Here's a sneak peek at what interests Brian Weber outside of his law practice.

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My ex says she has tenancy rights to my home

She says I should be the one to move.


Curfew Laws: Why you need to know where your child is

Many parents today remember a time when the 10 p.m. news began with a question for viewers: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your child is?”

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Full disclosure: Terry Collins

Terry Collins is a name partner at Johns, Flaherty & Collins. You may know his work, but here's your chance to see another side of him.

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Flag desecration: is it OK to wear clothes decorated with an old flag?

I have a pair of bell bottoms that I found at a thrift store with flares made from an old American flag. Is it considered flag desecration to wear them? 

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Business partnerships: What you need to know about getting in, out

The many benefits that can come with a business partnership often entice people to begin working together before they have formalized all the details. 

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The odds of a felony conviction [Infographic]

Infographic showing the latest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals the number of felony charges that actually end in convictions.

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If I’m fired, will I lose my pension?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, sometimes called ERISA, provides important protections should you be terminated prior to retirement.


Full Disclosure: Brandon Prinsen

Most clients know Brandon Prinsen for his business law and estate planning acumen, but here we show another side.


For sale by owner: avoid common legal problems

With today’s do-it-yourself approach to many things home-related, it’s not uncommon for home sellers to take the for-sale-by-owner route.

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Service Dogs Nothing to Sniff At [INFOGRAPHIC]

Want to know the difference between service animals and emotional support animals? How about signs of a true service animal? Or laws to protect service dogs? This infographic has answers.

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Service animals at work

Like any other requests surrounding disabilities, employers must treat seriously employee requests to bring service animals to work.

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Should you say I do to the prenup?

Do you really need a prenuptial agreement? If you’re in Wisconsin, this quiz will help you decide.

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New divorce laws in 2019

The new tax laws now in effect are creating significant ripple effects through homes across America, and some of the homes feeling it the most are those where couples are divorcing. 


Why should I care about GDPR?

If GDPR is a European Union law, why am I hearing so much about it in Wisconsin?

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Conducting your own background check

I’ve been applying for jobs recently and a lot of employers want to conduct a background check.

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Grandparents rights: not a sure thing

In an intact family—meaning married and no divorce—grandparents have no rights to see the children unless the parents agree.

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Five steps to avoid online defamation

A generation ago, members of the press were pretty much the only people who had to worry about issues like defamation and libel. Today everyone online needs to think about it.

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Homeowners Insurance: A look at the basics

If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender has probably required you to carry homeowner’s insurance.

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You and Your Social Security Number: When to Use it; When to Refuse It

As numbers go, it’s probably the most important one you’ll ever own. 

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Infographic shows divorce by the numbers

Infographic offers a snapshot of divorce in Wisconsin and the U.S., including frequency, risk factors and the most common reasons couples pursue the option. 

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Tips for business owners facing divorce

Anyone contemplating a divorce has a lot at stake, and if you’re a business owner, you can add a whole new list of considerations.


What we can learn from Picasso about estate planning

While one might be tempted to think of estate planning as merely having your will in place, it's really about much more. It's like a puzzle, where you need to be certain all the pieces fit together. 

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Debunked: five myths about wills and probate

“People have many reasons for putting off estate planning,” says Prinsen, “many of which are due to common myths.”

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Legal Dilemma: Does workers comp cover mental health?

I know that workers’ compensation will cover physical injuries sustained while on the job, but will it also cover mental illness stemming from my workplace? 

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Full Disclosure: Ellen Atterbury

We're delighted with our newest associate, Ellen Atterbury, and enjoy her fresh and original take on things.

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Top 10 questions to ask your divorce attorney

If you’re contemplating divorce, one of the most important steps you can take to relieve stress is hiring the right attorney. 

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Holiday checklist for business owners

Business owners face long holiday checklists. Not only do they have their personal gift and planning lists, but they also often have business-related lists for holiday cards, parties, client gifts or year-end bonuses.

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Three holiday cautions for employers

Signs that the holidays are here are inescapable. From the music in the stores to the wreaths on the doors, the sounds and symbols are everywhere—in homes, churches and, yes, even workplaces.

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Can you spot a scam? Take our quiz to find out.

It would seem with every new form of telecommunications comes a bevy of new ways for fraudsters to try to bilk you.


Six things you need to know before buying a timeshare

Before you go out and buy into a timeshare, here are six things you need to know.

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Charitable giving: tips for gifts that last

As another season of giving rolls around, many again will be deciding whether to give, to whom and how much.

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Infographic shows consequences of drinking and driving this holiday season

This infographic offers a snapshot of both the human and the legal consequences of drinking and driving this holiday season.

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How to (realistically) avoid drunken driving this holiday season

The holidays are just around the corner and with them, celebrations and libations. But that also brings a sobering fact: an average of 300 people die each year in drunken driving crashes during the week between Christmas and New Year. And nearly every single one is preventable.

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Infographic shows how often coworkers report misconduct

The Washington DC-based Ethics Resource Center's most recent National Business Ethics Survey reveals how often co-workers report each other for misconduct and what types of misconduct are most commonly reported. It also shows that many questionable ethical actions are considered OK. 

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Legal dilemma: Divorcing spouses disagree on child's religion

My ex and I disagree on our child’s religion. If we leave it up to the court, how will it make a decision?

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Even the best students can face truancy issues

It’s not uncommon for any student to experience truancy issues—even those earning straight-As

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Full Disclosure: Ellen Frantz

While you may have worked with Ellen Frantz in the past on an employment or family law matter, we bet you never knew these three things about her.

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Consent forms: do I give up all my legal rights by signing

With the new school year, I'm getting bombarded with parental consent and release forms. 

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Overtime pay: do I have to take comp time instead?

Is my employer violating the law in refusing overtime pay for my work beyond eight hours a day or 40 a week?

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Billing disputes: tips for consumers

Communicating with the business should be your first step in any billing dispute.


Easements: what are my rights as landowner?

My local power company just requested an easement to erect some windmills on my farm property. What is an easement, and do I have to oblige?


Understanding the process of small claims court

A basic guide to Wisconsin small claims court.

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Q&A: As a nonprofit board member, can I be held liable?

As a board member, am I liable for the organization’s debts?

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Divorce and property division: a house divided

Even if you are the primary wage earner in your marriage or the spouse who brought more to the marriage, you can expect assets—and debts—to be divided in a divorce.

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Unemployment compensation: do I qualify?

I told one of my co-workers what I thought of our supervisor. The supervisor overheard me and fired me. Can I get unemployment benefits?


Bullying: when should you call law enforcement?

The time to call police or a lawyer is when a student’s action has crossed a line.


7 signs someone is embezzling from your company

It's an unfortunate reality that employers need to vigilantly safeguard their assets from those they must trust the most: their own employees.

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Child support — Do I have to keep paying even though I lost my job?

I recently lost my job. Do I have to keep paying child support?

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Estate planning eases headaches and heartaches for survivors

While you may not have a fortune to bequeath, most people have at least some assets to leave behind.

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Billing disputes: tips for businesses

The best way to prevent billing disputes is a written contract outlining costs, expectations and delivery date.


Visitation: do I have to let ex-wife see children?

If parental rights have been terminated, the mother has no legal right to the children.

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Prenuptial agreements can be smart estate planning tools

The rising number of second and subsequent marriages combined with the rising age of first-time brides and grooms means more people are bringing more assets and children into marriages than ever before.

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Personnel records: What should you keep?

Under Wisconsin law, employers don’t have to keep individual personnel files, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep at least some information.

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Intellectual property: protecting your ideas with copyrights, trademarks and patents

Most businesses at some point will want to keep their ideas from being used by others.

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How to find hidden bank accounts in divorce

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, hidden assets exist in two-thirds of all marriages.

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Seatbelt law: how does law affect insurance claims?

I was in a car accident and wasn't wearing my seatbelt. How will that affect my insurance claim?

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Thinking of challenging a will? Consider the risk of disinheritance.

It is possible to challenge a will after someone has passed away, but it's a risky undertaking.

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Guide to adopting stepchildren

Adopting your stepchild may feel like a logical and easy step to deepening your relationship, but it’s essential to keep in mind what the change means for the child.

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Legal Dilemma: Could I get in trouble for bathtub baby photos?

One of my Facebook friends said I could get into legal trouble for posting cute photos of my baby in the bathtub. Is that true?


Primer on abortion laws in Wisconsin

As with all public policy, Wisconsin laws related to abortions are subject to change.

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Need for photo release depends on intent

Understanding photo rights — when you can take them, when you can post or publish them and when you need a release form from the people in them.


Full Disclosure: Joe Veenstra

Full Disclosure: Joe Veenstra

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Infographic shows statistics about dog bites

In tracking dog bite data throughout the year, the Centers for Disease Control have made some interesting discoveries.


How can I stop someone from impersonating me online?

A friend of mine recently said she was surprised by one of my Facebook posts. I don’t have a Facebook page, so I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. She opened her account and showed me a page that had been created in my name with my photo and other personal information and had connected with several of my friends. How can I shut it down?

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Love hurts: your liability when your dog causes injury

In Wisconsin, the law essentially says a dog owner is liable whenever their animal companion injures or causes injury to a person or another animal.


Visitation: how can I see my son?

My former girlfriend has full custody of our son, and doesn’t want to give me visitation rights. What can I do? I’m paying child support. I should get to see my son.


Fireworks: What's legal in Wisconsin?

Some would argue there is nothing more American than apple pie, mom and fireworks, especially around the Fourth of July.

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Consider legal implications of at-home DNA tests

Experts warn that there may be unanticipated implications of at-home DNA tests, and potential legal issues.

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5 things you cannot do while collecting unemployment

It’s important to know the restrictions on what you can do while collecting unemployment.

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Quick guide to types of trusts

This infographic offers a quick guide to the most common types of trusts.

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Commercial leases: what to look for

What should I look out for in a commercial lease?


Social Security disability process tricky

About two out of every three SSDI claim applications are initially denied.

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Minors flying solo require special considerations

A number of special considerations are required when minors fly solo. Here is some helpful information so you can navigate their way with no emotional or legal turbulence. 

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Severe weather season is here: What does your homeowner’s insurance cover?

Severe weather season is knocking on our door, and in our region, that means it’s time to review our insurance coverage.

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Is an OWI lawyer worth the cost?

Infographic shows drunken driving arrest outcomes according to legal representation.

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Renting out your space via Airbnb? Consider these legal issues first. (Part 1 of 2)

The internet has made it easier than ever for people to rent out their property in whole or in part to traveler, but the issue can become sticky for both the property owner and the renter. (Part 1 of 2)

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Looking to rent vacation space on Airbnb? Here's what you need to know on the legal side (Part 2 of 2)

In what is now commonly known as the sharing economy, property owners and even tenants are renting their apartments, homes and other spaces to people in need of lodging, but before you book a room, consider these legal issues. (Part 2 of 2)

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Verbal agreements: most are legally binding but open to interpretation

Technically, most verbal agreements are in fact legally binding. 

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Landlord-tenant law: Under what circumstances can a landlord keep a security deposit?

Knowing when you are entitled to keep a security deposit can be tricky without some advanced planning.

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Traffic tickets: a driver's guide

Even simple driving mistakes can be costly.


Full Disclosure: David Pierce

David Pierce is our newest associate at Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC, having joined us in June 2017.

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Wills vs. trusts: Which is right for me?

While most people appreciate the need for a will in an estate plan, trusts are less widely understood.

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How can I prove age discrimination?

How can I prove age discrimination if I am fired, demoted, or passed over for promotions?

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Employment contracts: weigh pros and cons

Employment contracts limit an employer’s right to fire the employee and the employee’s right to quit.

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Child placement: vacations involve extra planning for split parents

Holidays and summer vacations are frequently an impetus for families to renegotiate shared custody arrangements.

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Maternity leave: can I take off three months?

My employer says I can only take six weeks since I’ve only been with the company a year. 

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Building and remodeling: communication key to success

One of the greatest sources of stress with building or remodeling comes when contractors fail to meet your expectations.

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Social Security: can I collect benefits from ex-spouse's account?

Am I eligible to receive benefits from my ex-husband's account?

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Top four reasons for landlord-tenant legal problems

Once people find a rental property that fits their needs and budget, few give further thought to the landlord-tenant relationship: sign here, initial there. But that initial transaction—for both the tenant and the landlord—paves the way for either a harmonious relationship or a tumultuous one.


Beyond the here and now: Buy-sell agreements can protect your business interests for years to come

Buy-sell agreements are one of the most important tools for your long-term business success.

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Bank accounts: can boyfriend transfer funds without my permission

My boyfriend and I own a house together (both names on title and mortgage). The bank allowed him to have the automatic monthly payment transferred from our joint checking account to his individual savings account without my permission. Can they do this?

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Renting: what can I do about mold?

What rights do I have as a tenant living in a residence with black mold in the walls?

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Buying a home: what must the seller disclose?

Here's what you should include on your real estate condition report .

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Termination: depression was a factor; do I have recourse?

I was fired from my job for being late for work or calling in sick—all related to clinical depression. Do I have any legal recourse?  

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Divorce and debt: avoiding a nasty surprise

Spouses often think that debt the other spouse has incurred during marriage can’t affect them after a divorce.


Business structures: choosing the one that's right for your organization

When it comes to different business structures, one size does not fit all.

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Maintenance: understanding taxes

Don't forget about tax implications when planning your divorce settlement.


Home buying: an extra set of eyes helps when buying a house

While it is common for real estate agents and loan officers to prepare and review with the buyer the relevant paperwork for the purchase of a home, only a lawyer can give legal advice.

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Leasing: understand the risks when guaranteeing your child's lease

Landlords are looking for someone to guarantee their leases, and they’re looking to the parents of student renters.

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Getting engaged: legal considerations lack romance

Valentine's Day isn't just all about love and chocolate. If it includes a marriage proposal, it can also be about oral contracts and conditional gifts.

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Office romances: weighing the risks

People today spend a lot of time at work, so it’s no surprise the workplace is one of the top places to meet potential romantic partners.

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Buying vs leasing: understanding the pros and cons

Whether you're starting a new business or growing an existing one, you probably need equipment to get the job done.

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Estate planning: how do I discuss it with my aging parents?

Whether 80 or 18, every adult should have at least one or two documents.

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Funerals and burials: law provides choice

If you'd rather have someone other than next of kin make your funeral and burial arrangements, you can do so in Wisconsin through a law called Authorization for Final Disposition.

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Business valuation: half art, half science

Knowing you've gotten the most possible from your years of investment and hard work is as difficult as being certain you got highest possible dollar value for your home.

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Divorce could be answer to long-term care expense

Though it sounds extreme, divorce can be a way to protect assets when a spouse needs long-term care.

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Wills and powers of attorney: can I mark changes on original document?

Can I just line out the previous name of my personal representative, print the new name and initial it for the change to be viewed as a legal and binding change?

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Bank accounts: can I withdraw all the money in joint account

I put my boyfriend’s name on my checking account, and he deposited his income tax refund in that account. A week later, he left me for another relationship. I withdrew all the money from the account before he could and wonder whether he has any rights in getting any of the money back.

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Q&A: Can I do estate planning without an attorney?

My spouse and I have resolved to get our estate planning started this year. I have some friends who did it on their own, and I’m wondering if I can too or if I should use a lawyer.

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Infographic offers divorce prep checklist

Information is power, and when it comes to divorce, Johns, Flaherty & Collins wants you to know what you can expect and the decisions that await.

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Custody decisions must focus on children

When either married or unmarried couples with children separate, their chief concern typically is their children.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Divorce

Understanding the steps involved in divorce can help you feel a bit more comfortable knowing what to expect during an emotionally taxing process.

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Full Disclosure: Maureen Kinney

While she's been a devoted attorney for more than 40 years, Maureen Kinney has still managed to find time not just for pro bono work, but also for adventure.

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Auto accident: do I need an attorney?

I was in a car accident last week and suffered whiplash and a broken arm. The accident was the other driver’s fault, and I have his insurance information. Is that enough or do I need a lawyer?

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Drinking and driving: Should I submit to a field sobriety test?

To request a field sobriety test, an officer must have probable cause that you were driving while impaired as evidenced by your driving behavior.


Divorce and insurance: three important considerations

As if there isn’t enough to worry about when divorcing — child placement and support, maintenance, dividing assets and liabilities — you also need to think about insurance.

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Ten questions to determine whether and when to sell your business

Pundits have long discussed the life cycles of businesses, often reducing them to tidy four- or five-phase sequences. For business owners, however, the stages are not so clear and can be fogged by their own personal life cycles.

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Do we have to repay financial gift?

A relative gifted us money. Now she says we mismanaged it and told us to get a good lawyer.


How giving affects Medicaid eligibility

Tax rules surrounding gifting and Medicaid are separate, but gifting may affect eligibility. 

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Do's and don'ts after a car accident

Did you know that on average in Wisconsin, there's an auto accident every four minutes?

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Resume fraud more common than one might think

Employers always need to be aware of the potential for resume fraud. 

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Auto accidents: do's and don'ts

What should you do first after an automobile accident? 

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Succession planning: turning your company over to the next generation

Your business is going well and even includes two of your six kids in its management. What will happen when you decide to retire or die?

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Respect the rodents and defer to the dairy: scary laws in Wisconsin and beyond

Laws are written to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, and most laws aren’t scary unless you break them. Sometimes, however, local ordinances can get pretty specific…and a little weird.

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Corporate integrity: maintaining separate corporate identity protects officers, owners

Maintaining a separate corporate identity is key to protecting officers and owners from personal liability for the acts or debts of the business. 

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Restraining orders: when they are justified and how to proceed

A restraining order is a court order aimed at stopping someone from harassing you. 


Full Disclosure: Tony Gingrasso

Tony Gingrasso joined Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC, in 2014. You can read about what makes him a great lawyer on his bio, but in this Full Disclosure, you'll learn more about what makes him an overall great guy.

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Preparing your executor or trustee for success

While death is not a favorite dinnertime conversation, it’s crucial to set aside time to talk with those you have designated to manage your estate when you’re gone.

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New Wisconsin law making it easier to deny unemployment benefits comes under scrutiny

The Wisconsin Supreme Court clarifies language in (and offered a new precedent for) a 2013 state employment law that made it easier for employers to deny unemployment claims. 

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Is it legal to spy on your spouse?

Spouses may spy to see if their partners are cheating, spending time with undesirable friends, drinking, gambling or otherwise behaving badly. But is it legal?

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Statutory close corporations a great alternative for many businesses

For small business owners looking for the protection of a corporation and the simplicity of something less formal, a “statutory close corporation” may be just right.

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Johns, Flaherty & Collins' top 3 all-time most popular blogs

We were surprised at what most people were looking for. Are you?


Conducting job interviews: questions to avoid

If you’ve ever conducted a job interview, you know firsthand how tempting it can be to ask as many questions as you can to get to know candidates both professionally and personally.

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Is it legal to drive with pets on your lap?

Do Wisconsin distracted driving laws prohibit unrestrained animal companions? La Crosse attorney David Pierce answers.

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Jury Duty: Do you have to go?

Often when people are called for jury duty, they have a number of reasons they don’t want to go: a big deadline coming up at work, child care issues, illness or just plain disinclination.

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Can you separate real legal news from fake news?

With the lightning speed of communication today, we’ve never been more inundated with fake news. Can you tell what’s real versus what’s urban legend?

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Full Disclosure: Brandon Prinsen

At work, Brandon Prinsen is all business. Outside the office, well, we'll let you discover that on your own. Here's a glimpse of what you might find.

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Concealed weapons in private businesses: What are the rules?

What are the rules about concealed weapons in a private business?

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Federal investment rules: the basics

Equity and Crowdfunding Stats

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Dogs… What’s a good neighbor to do?

Dogs. It seems people love ‘em or hate ‘em. But when they bark all night or defecate on your lawn, we all tend to fall in the latter category.


Wisconsin Crowdfunding Law opens doors to equity and potential legal issues

If you’ve ever been tempted to use crowdfunding to build your business, Wisconsin has taken extra steps to make it friendlier than ever to do so in the state.

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Time-Share Property Pitfalls: What to Consider Before You Buy

Picture this: you’re on vacation in a beautiful place, a resort employee buys you lunch, and at the height of your hedonism, you purchase a time-share. Just like that, your once-in-a-lifetime becomes once-a-year.


Parents should be concerned about Snapchat update

Young social media users are all about the new Snapchat feature announced last week. Here's why you should be all about discussing it with them.

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Wisconsin gerrymandering case is complicated

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will take up the state’s partisan gerrymandering case, a case with the potential for significant ramifications for state legislatures throughout the country.

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Rental Car Insurance: Get it or forget it?

Standing at the car rental counter after a long flight with tired and hungry kids is not the best time to wonder whether you need additional insurance to cover a rental car. 


Five Tips for Employee Evaluations

While employers in Wisconsin are not required to give their workers evaluations—or even keep personnel files—they are wise to do them, and do them thoughtfully.


EEOC Charges Filed in 2016

If you think we've moved beyond employment discrimination issues in recent years, you may want to rethink that position.


Screening sitters: eight steps to give you peace of mind

The end of the school year marks the beginning of summer sitter season. If you're among the many families looking for someone to watch your children, we have several screening suggestions to help.


The Most Common Fines Assessed Against Small Businesses

When you own a small business, complying with regulations and laws is an essential part of your role. But the responsibility can be overwhelming.

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Revising Your Estate Plan During and After Divorce

You are separated. Is this the time to change beneficiaries on life insurance and your retirement accounts?

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Think you understand small claims court? Take our quiz and find out.

Test your knowledge! How well do you understand small claims court? Answer the multiple choice questions below to find out.


New Parent Legal Checklist

Once you become a parent, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Many days, one just feels lucky to take a shower. But it’s critical to make time to protect your baby and yourself with these important legal planning steps.

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Identity Theft Checklist

This checklist will help ensure that you're doing as much as possible to prevent identity theft.

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Animal Companions: Three Legal Issues to Consider Before You Adopt

Companion animals can be wonderful additions to a home or family.

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Legal Dilemma: Should I Respond to Class-Action Notice?

I received a notice of a class-action lawsuit against a company I’ve purchased from in the past. What should I do with it and how/when will I know if I qualify for compensation?


Pharmaceutical Companies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers Under Microscope in Wake of Price-Fixing Allegations

While synthetic insulin hasn't changed much in the past 50 years, its price has: the cost has rise more than 150 percent in the past five years. 

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Top 6 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases aren't the slam dunks often featured on TV ads. Here's the reality.

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Top 5 legal tips for traveling abroad

Before you begin your trip, it’s important to brush up on some basic legal tips.


Top 5 Legal Issues for Pregnant Women and New Moms

As with any major life change, when you’re pregnant or bringing a new baby home, there are often accompanying legal considerations. 


What is yours is mine, but what is mine is... a look at common mistakes in dividing marital property

With love in your eyes and a wedding about to happen, the idea of planning for ending your marriage seems unseemly. But the reality is marriages may end, requiring the splitting of property. 

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5 Legal Tips to Consider Before Retirement

Most Americans look forward to their retirement for years, if not decades, but before you ride off into the retirement sunset, consider these legal tips. 


Primary Custody, Shared Custody and Split Custody: Understanding the Differences

When parents decide to share the custody of their children, there are differing ways to approach an arrangement, among them, primary, shared or split custody. 

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What NOT to Wear to Court

Wearing the wrong thing to court can decide your fate before you even see the judge.

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Understanding the First Amendment Defense Act

The First Amendment Defense Act is intended to prevent the federal government from taking any action against any business or person who acts in alignment with their religious or moral belief that marriage is the union between a man and a woman, and sexual relations are reserved for that definition of marriage.

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Under Trump Presidency, Changes Possible for FLSA Overtime Rule

As we usher in a new presidential administration, U.S. business owners and employees alike are closely watching the new proposed overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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After you're gone: tips for handling your digital property

My spouse and I are wondering what will happen to our Facebook accounts when we pass away. Does Facebook shut them down? Will our accounts remain as long as Facebook is still in business?

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How much does divorce cost in Wisconsin?

One of the first questions asked by someone contemplating divorce is how much does it cost?

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Business Lawsuits: By the Numbers

If you ever find your business faced with a lawsuit, these numbers may help you make some big-money decisions.

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Five Things You Can't Do During Divorce

The divorce process is an emotional gauntlet that can be tough to navigate. After all, nobody walks down the aisle expecting their marriage to someday end. If you do find yourself at the end of your marriage, avoid further friction by considering the following “don’ts” during your divorce.

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The Pros and Cons of Going it Alone in Business

If you’re considering starting a business in 2017, here’s a look at the pros and cons of going solo.

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New Year resolutions for business: 6 steps to protect your entity

Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re just starting up, now is a good time to make sure you’re getting all the personal protections afforded by your corporate structure. 

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It's OK to be a Grinch when it comes to holiday wine exchanges running on Facebook

It’s a fun idea, a holiday wine exchange, hitting the Facebook pages of wine lovers throughout the Coulee Region. But when you see it in your feed, we say it’s wise to be a Grinch and just keep on scrolling.

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Four myths about drunken driving

Soon it will be the season to be merry, but statistics indicate that getting too merry can bring devastating consequences.

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A New Year's resolution to keep: managing your business risks

A New Year is not just a good time to make personal resolutions like exercising more frequently and eating better.


Changes to Financial Laws Possible in the Wake of Recent Election

In the wake of the recent election, many are speculating how changes in our nation’s highest levels of leadership will affect financial laws and regulations. 

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Q&A: Do I really need a license for a simple raffle in Wisconsin?

I volunteer with the parent-teacher organization at my child’s school, and we’re planning a raffle-style fundraiser. One of the parents said we need a license from the state in order to conduct our raffle. Is that true? If it is, what steps do we need to take?

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How much do you REALLY know about presidential election laws?

We’re just days away from the U.S. presidential election, and while you may know what to do when you get in the voting booth, do you really know what happens once you leave it?

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What Is "Pain and Suffering?"

In a personal injury case how is “pain and suffering” defined, and how is it calculated?


Expungement: Getting "That" Off Your Record

If you or a loved one is convicted of a crime, you probably want to get beyond that mistake quickly. Is there any way to remove the charges from your record?


Weird Wisconsin laws make unwitting criminals

You probably fancy yourself a law-abiding citizen, but in Wisconsin, there are several laws still on the books that you may be breaking without knowing. 

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Estate Planning Guide: From age 18 to 118

Many people are surprised to learn that estate planning becomes relevant for all upon turning 18. Check this guide to see what you need at this point in your life. 

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Estate planning through the ages

One size does not fit all when it comes to estate planning. Each of us has different needs and priorities, depending on where we and our family members are in our lives. 

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Big YouTube Changes Could Spell Legal Trouble for Users

If you upload videos to YouTube, especially if you embed music in those videos, you'll want to make sure you're not hitting a sour note when it comes to copyright. These days, record labels and musical artists are working harder than ever to protect their assets, and you could be held liable if you make a copyright misstep.

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Five tips for choosing a lawyer

Chances are at some point in your life, you'll need a lawyer. It is the nature of the complex world we live in that sometimes we need the guidance of an attorney to protect our interests. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure you get the caliber of representation you deserve. 

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Five everyday legal tips to make life easier

Life can be messy. Thankfully, with a little legal planning, some of the messiest aspects of life can be minimized or prevented altogether. These five legal tips can help you preemptively smooth out some of the transitions and trials of life.


Insta-trap: 5 ways Instagram can get you into legal trouble

What seems like it might be all in good fun could get you into an insta-trap of legal trouble. How can you avoid legal problems while Instagramming? By learning from the mistakes of others. 

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What's in a (business) name?

JFC attorneys are confident that if Susan McDonald named her hair salon “McDonald’s Salon,” she would not run into big tradename problems. 

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How much do you REALLY know about presidential election laws?

We're just a couple months away from the U.S. presidential election, and while you may know what to do when you get in the voting booth, do you really know what happens once you leave it?

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Driving with a cell phone: Wisconsin law clarified

Can you please clarify Wisconsin’s laws about cell phone use while driving? Can I text if I’m using voice controls?

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Augmented reality meets metal and glass: Poke-risks in a Poke-verse

Pokemon is nothing new. Since the late 90s, gamers have captured, trained and battled with hundreds of little creatures from the comfort of their couches. Pokemon has spawned anime and manga television series, a few dozen films and a lovely low-tech card trading game that cost unknown numbers of third graders stern reprimands during silent reading time. Now, the Pokemon franchise gives us some legal issues to consider.

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Top 3 liabilities of summer

Summertime in Wisconsin is magical. Residents emerge from an interminable hibernation to enjoy the beauty, recreation and many celebrations dotting our region. But it isn’t all fun and games. Summer in Wisconsin is a prime time for injury-related accidents—many of which can easily be avoided and many of which carry big liability issues when they aren’t.


The power of mediation: getting parties to settle out of court

When mediation lawyer Brent Smith negotiates a case, he moves from room to room, listening and sharing offers and counter offers. One goal of mediation is faster and less expensive resolutions to legal problems.

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What's the difference between a seasonal employee and a seasonal worker?

Seasonal employee and seasonal worker may seem synonymous, but there’s actually a subtle difference—a difference that can mean a lot when it comes to healthcare benefits.  And more importantly, it is not what you call the worker, but how the position is defined.

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Five steps to take before starting your business

What makes one new business succeed and another fail? It all may come down to what is done long before you open your door, according to attorney Anthony Gingrasso.

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Wisconsin crime increases in summer; don't be a victim

With summer comes sunny vacations, afternoons at the pool, ice cream sundaes and farmers markets. But summer in Wisconsin also has an unfortunate companion: increased crime. 

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What the Supreme Court's top five decisions this week mean for Wisconsin residents

It’s been a busy few days for the U.S. Supreme Court, with a number of big-case decisions—and, in more than one matter, indecision. Here’s the rundown on the top five and what they mean for Wisconsin residents.

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Do you need a prenup? Depends on how you answer these four questions.

These four questions can help you determine whether a prenup makes sense for you and your partner.

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Q & A: Can I suspend child support during summer vacations?

As a non-custodial parent, you may wonder if you have to continue paying child support during summer months, especially if your child is staying with you for an extended time during their vacation. 

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3 signs you have a personal injury case

If you watch much daytime TV, you may get the impression that virtually any injury means you have a personal injury case and tens of thousands of dollars just waiting for you to claim. In reality, you need to be able to answer yes to three questions in order to claim anything.

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Prince had no will...

Prince may have been a bit prescient about life in some of his lyrics (after all it is reported he died in an elevator), but he probably should have planned better for when the grim reaper came knocking on his (elevator) door…

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Wisconsin drone legislation continues to evolve

As ownership of drones explodes in popularity, lawmakers are working to bring regulations up to date to manage the implications and risks.

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Rejected: top 3 reasons people are denied Social Security disability income

Three of every five Social Security disability income and SSI claims are rejected on first application in Wisconsin each year. Understanding why can help you determine whether you have an approvable claim.

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Four things you need to know about cohabitation contracts

More than ever, couples are choosing cohabitation over marriage. If you and your partner are living together and want to maintain the simplicity you sought in the first place, you may want to consider a cohabitation contract.


Social media policies: why you can't yell "fire" on the internet

Attorney Ellen Frantz received a call years ago from a man fired because of a photo posted of him and others on a coworker’s Facebook page. 

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The party's at our house

We’re hosting a graduation party at home for our son and a few of his friends. As long as we’re supervising, is there any problem with serving a little beer?

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Condos have their own rules

If you purchased a condominium lately, you likely had a stack of documents handed to you.


Eight alternatives to foreclosure

They don't make as many headlines as they used to, but foreclosures still happen. If you find yourself coming up short on your mortgage, you do have alternatives to foreclosure.

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Eight most common business mistakes

Owning and operating your own business can be a satisfying and profitable venture. But it’s also one that can lead to personal financial ruin.

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Social media legal tips: 5 things every social media user should know

Without a doubt, social media has introduced a whole new world of opportunity for citizen journalists, bloggers and others looking to share their stories and ideas in the public arena. Unfortunately, it’s also introduced a host of ways to violate intellectual property laws.  

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The drone's gray zone: who owns the air

With the Consumer Technology Association estimating more than 700,000 drones were sold last year alone, chances are drones will soon be buzzing the skies near you. But what happens when a drone flies above your property? 


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The benefits of a parenting agreement

Over the course of his practice, attorney Brian Weber has seen the importance of creating parenting agreements for children after a divorce. 

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Independent contractor or employee? Federal rules are changing

The U.S. Department of Labor is taking a “good hard look” at whether workers are independent contractors or employees.  

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Six Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan

With a new year comes those recurring resolutions to exercise more and eat less, save more and spend less and so on. An important one that’s often overlooked, however, is reviewing your estate plan.

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Empty nesters: do we need to update our estate plan?

We sent our youngest child off to college last fall and are now officially empty nesters. Is there anything we need to do with our will at this point?

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A look behind our curtain

Though you may see and work mostly with your attorney or paralegal at Johns, Flaherty & Collins, some other very important people keep the whole process running smoothly—making certain documents are in order, filings are on time and court dates and other important meetings are scheduled.

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New legislation means taxpayers must act fast

Without doubt, this can be a busy—and stressful—time of year. In addition to the bustle of the holiday, this week also marks the last in which to make important year-end tax decisions.

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Top four spousal support questions

It used to be that women stayed home to care for the house and children while men went out and earned the paycheck. Clearly, times have changed, and two-income households are more the norm for married couples. It’s one area where the law has kept pace with society’s changing demographics, and in more and more cases, maintenance (formerly known as alimony) today looks very different than it did even 30 years ago.

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New meds and car accident...can I be sued?

I had an adverse reaction to some new medication while driving my car and accidentally hit and injured a bicyclist. Can criminal charges be filed? Can the bicyclist sue me?

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Realistic expectations key for marriage ... and divorce

Believe it or not, marriage and divorce have a lot in common. While anticipating either, we tend to view them as panaceas. But in both cases, they rarely (if ever) are, and you’ll survive either one much better if you enter with realistic expectations. With that in mind, here’s what you can and cannot expect a divorce to do.

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Think your work environment is hostile?

Hostile can be a vague term to most of us. We tend to take it at face value—to mean unkind, malicious, vitriolic. But when it comes to the workplace, hostile takes on new meaning, and it’s a fine line that separates an unfriendly workplace from a hostile one.

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Can I be sued?

I had an adverse reaction to some new medication while driving my car and accidentally hit and injured a bicyclist. Can criminal charges be filed? Can the bicyclist sue me?

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Even young parents should plan for what might happen

As a father of twin boys, attorney Anthony Gingrasso wants to make sure they are protected if anything happens to him and his wife. He knows it is a difficult subject. “Death is not something that any of us want to think about,” Gingrasso said. 


Five common mistakes in hiring and firing

Mistakes made in hiring and firing can be costly, which leads to attorney Ellen Frantz’s advice: hire slowly; fire fast. “When I say fire fast, I don’t mean it should be a snap decision,” Frantz said. “If someone is not working out and you know it, make the decision rather than have that person hanging around for months. Things usually don’t get better; they usually get worse."

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Second thoughts about a firing decision?

It isn’t common but occasionally supervisors may rethink the firing of an employee, especially if a legal issue comes to their attention.

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Employment at will has limitations

By definition, employment at will means that an employer can fire a person for any reason or no reason at all. So absent an employment contract, employers can decide any time to let workers go.

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Six legal questions to ask before you get married

A lot of factors go into deciding whether to marry. In addition to love, lifelong commitment and companionship, you’re wise to also consider the practical side—including the legal aspects of a prospective tied knot. When it comes to legal questions, here are the top six you need to ask before you say "I do." 

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Blurred lines: email and texting tangling work, personal time

Work time and personal time has blurred in recent years, especially with the handy access most people have to email and texting. It’s a trend that’s keeping many employees connected to work 24/7/365.

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Same-sex marriage v. Domestic partnerships

Now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation, many same-sex couples in Wisconsin are wondering how that affects domestic partnerships. The answer is it doesn’t. The domestic partnership law still exists and is available to all adult couples. 


Who can (legally) be on new $10 bill?

The United States Treasury will announce the new face of the ten dollar bill soon. The new bill will be enhanced to discourage counterfeiting, and to make identification easier for the blind and visually impaired. The most anticipated change, however, will be the person featured on the bill.

JFC Housing Fund helps homeless kids

A dozen local homeless high school students will soon have a safe place to sleep and a continuous source for food thanks to a $70,000 grant from the La Crosse Community Foundation, funded in part by the Johns, Flaherty & Collins – Michael Stoker Memorial Fund for housing and homelessness issues.

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Divorce: who gets the dog?

It’s a question so common, it’s the name of a romantic comedy starring Alicia Silverstone now in post-production. Unfortunately when the question ‘who gets the dog’ arises in real life, there’s very little if anything comedic about it.

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Independent contractors: taxation and liability most common issues

With almost one in ten people still jobless in the U.S., many unemployed workers are turning to independent contractor work, bringing new opportunities — and challenges — to American workplaces.

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Drones and privacy: a legal storm is brewing

Originally used primarily for military efforts, drones now are used for surveillance by law enforcement, news coverage, photography, and a host of other of other purposes. But as drones become increasingly ubiquitous, privacy is becoming increasingly scarce. It’s a conflict that has the makings for a perfect storm in the American legal system.


Why so many robocalls when you're on the Do-Not-Call List?

Why are you getting so many robocalls when you're on the Do-Not-Call List? The answer is technology, according to attorney Peder Arneson. “With autodialers, companies can send out thousands of calls a minute and they don’t bother checking the No-Call List,” he said. “Not all are illegal.”


Caitlyn Jenner: Making her transition legal

Fortunately for Caitlyn Jenner, becoming recognized legally as a woman should be a lot less painful than the surgeries she’s undergone, not to mention the public and private conversations she’s had with loved ones. Here are five legal steps to serve as a guide for transgender people in Wisconsin. 


NBA Finals: Two legal maneuvers that changed the sport ... and made some people very rich

With the NBA Final just days away, basketball fans throughout the country are anxiously awaiting the match-up between the Cavaliers and the Warriors. To feed your basketball hunger in the meantime, we offer you two legal stories behind the NBA—one that made some older people very rich and another that’s earning some kids right out of high school more in one year than some of us will ever accrue in a lifetime.

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Buying or selling a house: what you need to know

If there is anything buyers and sellers of homes have in common it is a need to know their local housing market. “If it’s been a while since you’ve sold a house or looked at houses, you need to be familiar with prices in your market,” said attorney Greg Bonney. That's especially important if you move to a new area.

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Four tips for protecting privacy in the smart phone age

Smart phone technology has vastly changed the way we live. We can communicate with others in seconds, find directions to out-of-the-way places, take, post selfies to our favorite social platforms and so much more. But the technology has also endangered privacy in ways that would have been difficult for most of us to imagine, even as recently as five years ago.

Underage drinking could cost parents

If you have a teenager, chances are you’re gearing up for prom and graduation season.  But if alcohol becomes part of those special events, both you and your teen stand to get in serious legal trouble.


At times, guardianship may be needed

Even with financial and healthcare powers of attorney, there may be times when a court-ordered guardianship is needed for individuals unable to make decisions for themselves.


Is obesity covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act?

I’ve heard that obesity is now covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Is this true? 

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Many factors involved in successful personal injury cases

Decisions in personal injury cases come down to negligence, how it’s defined and whether you can prove it.


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Tinder under fire as user files class-action lawsuit

Earlier this month, a California man filed a class-action lawsuit against the scorching-hot Tinder online dating app.

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Thousands of reasons to purchase "Underinsured Insurance"

The good news after your car accident is that the other drivers in insured. Whew!?


Three legal steps to take when baby comes

Even though Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s baby will be born into vast wealth and celebrity, they still have one thing in common with married parents in our neck of the woods.

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Three bizarre social media lawsuits

We've blogged many times about the legal implications of social media...

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Three tips for smart phone safety

With families’ busy schedules today, it’s often easier for everyone when the kids, like the parents, have a cell phone.

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Even the four best courtroom movies can't make the real-life cut

Courtrooms often are great backdrops for dramatic movie scenes and Oscar-worthy performances.

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Work-at-home employees: do you need an agreement?

Technology allows us to do much more from the privacy of our homes than any of us imagined even ten years ago...

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Personal injury: five steps to a fair settlement

Despite what you may see on TV, most people injured in accidents aren’t awarded vast sums of money from lawsuits...


Co-Parenting: Little Eyes Are Watching

Breaking up is hard. Breaking up with someone you had children with is impossible—especially when the children are still at home.


Four cases that changed the NFL

Excitement is building for the 2015 NFL Super Bowl, and it’s a sure thing many of us will be watching on Feb. 1.

A consumer guide to class-action lawsuits

Most consumers at one time or another have opened their mail to learn they are a member of a class-action lawsuit. Oftentimes the packets are bulky with several pages of legal language outlining the case and their rights. Intimidated by all the paper, many people simply throw the packets away. But by doing so, they may be discarding the opportunity for both justice and compensation.


Social media: how can I protect my content?

With Pinterest, blogs and all the other social media out there, I want credit for my photos that are reposted. How can I protect my work?

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Doing business as: three ways DBAs can help you grow your business

While many people know that in the business world DBA stands for “doing business as,” far fewer understand how and when to use a DBA.

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Six reasons to reconsider marriage later in life

By the time some single or divorced people reach age 50 or 60, they’ve sworn off marriage, even if they’re in a committed relationship.


Do I have to answer whether I was drinking?

Tis the season to be merry!

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Three most important considerations with employment contracts

Though employment contracts aren’t terribly common, they can be a way to attract and retain top talent.

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Renegotiating child placement: stay focused on the children

When parents divorce, lawyers will very likely advise them on developing a child placement schedule.

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Slippery roads underscore importance of umbrella policies

Mother Nature served up a reason to reconsider that umbrella policy on your auto insurance. 


Scraping for new ideas: when is it considered plagiarism

Now that the dust has settled from the 2014 Wisconsin governor race, let’s talk about plagiarism.

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Does your business need a valuation

As a business lawyer, Greg Bonney is periodically asked about business valuations. Business owners want to know when valuations, which can be costly and time-consuming, are warranted.

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Wisconsin law on bullying limited

With increasing reports of bullying today, it is natural for parents to worry. Research has shown how bullying can lead to emotional scars, even suicide.

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Supreme Court's order blocking Voter ID law may mean litte in overall scheme

With just over three weeks until the election, the United States Supreme Court yesterday stayed Wisconsin’s new Voter ID law from going into effect.

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U.S. Supreme Court to discuss same-sex marriage

A lot of eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court next Monday.

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Top three things you need to know about Wisconsin's voter ID law

Friday’s quick ruling from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court saying Wisconsin’s new voter ID law is constitutional is leaving election officials as well as the Department of Transportation scrambling.

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Five reasons DIY should stand for DON'T do it yourself when it comes to divorce

In today's do-it-yourself mentality, fueled by easier access to how-to information than ever before, it's not uncommon for consumers to take on more tasks themselves.

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Should you take your spouse's name?

Nearly 30,000 Wisconsin brides each year must decide whether to change their names when they marry. Among those, roughly 60 to 80 percent do take their husbands’ last names.

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What you can learn from Facebook's latest fumble

It’s happened again. Facebook is in the news for raising ire — this time for allowing researchers to manipulate users’ newsfeeds to gauge emotional responses to positive or negative posts.

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Plan now for big estate recovery changes

The countdown to Aug. 1, 2014 is on, but few Wisconsinites recognize the importance of that date. 

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Facebook: a word or two for employees...

Knowing prospective employers look at social media, consider Facebook—for good or for bad—an extension of your interview.  


Legal advice pays off when buying/selling a home

For most of us, a house is our most expensive and significant purchase in life. If ever there is a time to call in professional help, this would be it.

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Mother Nature gives reason to read home insurance policies

So far, 2014 has been a tough year for homeowners.


Juveniles charged as adults: Slender Man stabbing reignites discussion

The Slender Man stabbing has sparked a lot of attention not only here in Wisconsin but also across the country. It’s tragic on many levels — children hurting children.

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Facebook information can help or hinder job prospects

On the surface, Facebook seems like the perfect tool for employers—it offers a glimpse into the private lives of prospective and current employees that you wouldn’t ordinarily have.

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Flying solo: when your children travel without you

My children are flying out west this summer to spend a week with my sister. What documents should I send with them for just-in-case incidents?

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Top three legal tips for destination weddings

June remains the most popular month for weddings, and a surprising number of those weddings — one in four — will be destination weddings where the nuptials take place at least 100 miles from the bride’s home.

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Protecting consumer data requires vigilance

A few months ago it was Target and Michael’s. Then it was Heartbleed and Michael’s (again).

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Conscious Uncoupling: a new spin on Collaborative Divorce?

Couples employing collaborative divorce find there’s less fear and anxiety since there’s no threat of going to court.


What does it mean to be an executor in a will?

My parents just told me I’ve been named executor of their will. What does that mean? What does an executor do?

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Taxes in Maintenance

Tax implications should be considered in divorce settlements, according to attorney Sonja Davig.


Combating myths of maintenance after divorce

Once upon a time in America, men were the breadwinners and women sacrificed careers to raise the kids. Thus, women often received alimony after a divorce.


Students face academic - and legal - consequences when plagiarizing

The electronic age has brought easy access to a wealth of information on topics as diverse as history, science, art, homemaking, crafts, medicine, parenting and, yes, the law.

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What to do when a spouse racks up debt

Research has shown time and again that financial and money disagreements are leading causes of divorce, so it should be no surprise that they are also one of the most contentious issues to resolve when the marriage ends.

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Cooperation key to child placement during the holidays

Holidays can be tricky when you have extended family.

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Five ways to get a landlord to make repairs

We’ve all heard the stories: cockroaches, mold, plumbing problems and the landlord who won’t fix them.

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When is my child old enough to stay home alone?

My child has been going to day care after school, where she stays until I finish work.

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Wisconsin gun laws similar to other states

Wisconsin courts have long allowed gun owners to openly carry handguns but not concealed weapons.

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Look to Golden Rule for employee monitoring tips

Most employee policies today include provisions for employee monitoring.

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Second marriage: how do we keep our assets separate?

I am in my 50s and engaged to be married this year.

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Adoption: nearly always a happy story

Adoptions come in many forms—domestic and international—and here in the U.S. require voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights.

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About email disclaimers

Many people know that sickening feeling that comes when they realize they just hit send on an email intended for someone else.

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"Fine print" musts for business websites

You may wonder if anyone actually reads those website terms and conditions found on most sites today.

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Personal injury: should I take the settlement?

I was injured in a car accident this winter when another car slid through an intersection and broadsided me.

Do you have unlimited free speech?

Don’t expect the First Amendment to give you cover for anything and everything you might say or write.

Should you worry about online reviews?

A customer writes a negative online review about your restaurant. 

Pool Safety: Five Steps to Protect You from Injury Claims

With warm temperatures finally hitting the Coulee Region, many residents are seeking refuge in their pools or at least dreaming of installing one.

Be mindful of the law when blogging for business

More and more businesses today are discovering the benefits of blogging. 

Bloggers beware: what you post may not be legal

When blogging was introduced to the masses around 1999, few people realized its potential to turn stay-at-home moms into bread winners or secretaries into best-selling authors.

Small claims court a good solution for businesses

If you own a business, chances are you’ve encountered at least a couple disputes with customers or other businesses.

Rent-to-own contracts a dubious business practice

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, rent-to-own contracts have found their way into the American economy.

Facebook posts can cost you time with your child

It seems we just can’t say it enough: be careful what you post on Facebook.

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Parents and underage drinking: what you need to know

If you have a teenager, chances are you’re gearing up for prom and graduation season.

Estate planning: don't forget to plan for your digital estate

Estimates indicate 30 million Facebook accounts belong to dead people. 

Eight steps to protect yourself from tax identity theft

Sometimes waiting for your tax refund can feel like waiting for Christmas. 

Simple steps to select a lawyer for your business

Whatever your status as a business owner — prospective, new or established — you’re better off having a relationship with a business lawyer.

iTunes rules: what you're really agreeing to when you download

Many readers remember a simpler time when music came on vinyl, tape or at least a compact disc.

Licensing agreements can hold keys to expansion

Most people have a basic understanding of franchises.

Top three tips for choosing safe toys for the holidays

For those with children in their lives, one of the best parts of the holiday season is seeing little ones’ eyes light up with excitement over a new toy.

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Fantasy football? Don't bet on it

Right about the time fantasy football wraps up, it will be time for fantasy basketball, and Wisconsin fans will be at it again. 

Estate planning for parents: should the guardian and the trustee be the same person

My husband and I just had a baby and are doing our first will.

Employment discrimination: is age discrimination at work?

In the last few years, older adults have found themselves losing jobs and having great difficulty finding new ones.

Unmarried couples: consider challenges when buying property together

From young adults to seniors, unmarried people often buy property together.

New case law illustrates importance of reviewing nonprofit bylaws

Nonprofit corporations create bylaws when they are established, but two recent legal cases affirm that creating bylaws is not enough.

Broken engagement: who keeps the ring?

It’s wedding season again.

501(c)(3) status: what it takes to become tax-exempt

The 7 Rivers Region has a rich tradition of philanthropy.

Bankruptcy won't erase student debt

Recent estimates suggest that about two-thirds of all college students take out loans to pay for college.

Hiring foreign workers often as easy as hiring citizens

Raids by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers illustrate the worst that can happen when employers ignore or knowingly disregard labor laws regulating the employment of non-citizen workers.

Business valuations have many uses

Many business owners work day in and day out to build value in their companies, but few know the actual value of their enterprise.

Child placement: when can child decide?

In the state of Wisconsin, what age does a child need to be to determine with which parent he or she lives full time?

Taxes, Automobiles and Your Business: A Guide to Deductions

When it comes to paying taxes, it’s perfectly natural — even wise — to look for every possible deduction.

Accommodating customers with physical disabilities is smart business

Unless you’ve experienced a physical disability, it’s hard to understand the complexities of getting around independently in the world today.


Fraud: Protect yourself from scams

It has never been easier for criminals to make a buck via consumer fraud—or for us to fall for these scams. 

International business: you need more than just a handshake

Business once was done with just a handshake, a symbol of trust. In the international market—and really any market—it is far better today to have a strong contract.

International markets offer opportunities ... and challenges

World markets may be at your fingertips, but buying and selling across the world is much more complicated than clicking the mouse a few times.

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Starting a business: what do I need to know about permits, licenses and sales tax?

I’m starting my own small business providing carpentry and drywall services.

Retail rules: Am I entitled to a price adjustment?

Is there a law that after a retail item has been sold by a business and then goes on sale for a lesser price that the business has to refund the difference?

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Take Control of Online Privacy

As the March 1 effective date for Google’s new privacy policy nears, increasing numbers of consumers are buzzing about how it will affect personal privacy online.

New Wisconsin law may necessitate change for business owners

Many business owners, especially those in equipment and service industries (e.g., health care, consulting, information technology, insurance, food service, etc.), have long relied on automatic renewal clauses to maintain uninterrupted operations with clients.  

Bankruptcy alternative: Chapter 128 helps Wisconsin debtors regroup, repay

Bankruptcy should be a last resort for people facing more debt than they can possibly repay. 

Noncompete agreements: a form of business insurance

It's ironic that one of your business's greatest assets can also be one of its greatest threats.

Toy Safety Update 2011: Dreaming of an iChristmas

Based on recent buying trends, it would appear many people this year are dreaming of an iChristmas

Airport security: understanding the rules

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and for many Americans that means time to empty all your liquids into 3-ounce containers, squeeze them all into one quart-size bag, remove your shoes and subject yourself to your choice of a nude (albeit anonymous) photo of yourself or an intimate pat-down by a stranger.

Containing cyber-slacking - establishing a reasonable email policy for your workplacde

The advent of the Internet and email in the workplace has been both a boon and a boondoggle to employers in the United States.

Few happy with new Internet regulations

With lines like "Save the Internet" and "Join the fight for Internet Freedom," the rhetoric surrounding network neutrality may lead some to believe their very basic freedoms of speech and information access are at stake. 

Solid employee policy is key to tapping power of social media in workplace

Depending on your perspective, social media may be either the biggest productivity drain or the greatest promotional opportunity since the Internet found its way to the workplace a decade ago.

When advertising, follow the golden rule

Many businesses and individuals rely on advertising to let the world know what they have to offer.

Avoid common business insurance mistakes

Business owners work hard to grow their enterprises, investing countless hours, intense labor and careful attention to assure success.

Four steps to buying or selling a business

Buying or selling a business may be one of the biggest career and personal decisions you'll ever make. 

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Getting out of timeshare contracts

"My wife and I bought a timeshare a few years ago and it’s just not what we expected or want. We’ve been trying to sell it now for a few months and then hired a company to help us, but we’ve had no interest from anyone. How can we get out?"

Small claims court: five fallacies to understand

Small claims court can be a great resource for ordinary people seeking civil justice. It’s quicker and less expensive than the usual court process, yet still yields legally enforceable judgments.

A Lay Traveler''s Guide to Passport Rules

If you’re planning international travel this summer and are confused by whether you need a passport, you’re not alone.

Landlord-Tenant Law Part 2: Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants

In a college town like La Crosse, Wis., it’s no surprise that one of every two residents lives in a rental property.

Landlord-Tenant Law Part 1: Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords

In a college town like La Crosse, Wis., it’s no surprise that one of every two residents lives in a rental property.

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Prom, graduation and alcohol: what's a parent to do?

It’s prom season, and soon it will be graduation season as well—a time of celebration and milestones where adolescence and adulthood converge.

'Do not track' legislation could be Internet game changer

When Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced legislation this year that would establish a “Do Not Track List” for Internet marketers, countless consumers sighed, “It’s about time.” 

Updating your will.... and your estate

You finally realized the importance of writing your will a few years ago and got it done. Whew. That's over with. Or is it?

Recent and pending divorces: a tax filing primer

For people who divorced last year or who are in the midst of divorcing now, taxes are yet another of the many details to be negotiated.


Attractive nuisances and recreational immunity: are you responsible?

A child wanders onto your property and is injured. Are you responsible?

Divorce and Taxes: Expect Changes

Without a doubt, divorce and taxes are among the least pleasant aspects of life. When combining the two, you may be surprised to see how much more unpleasant the implications can be.

Commonly missed tax deductions

The search for tax deductions is a year-round effort, and it's a search that often includes oversights.

Consumer Guide to Product Warranties

When you buy a new product, it’s only natural to expect a certain level of performance from it. Whether talking gizmos or gadgets, as a consumer, you have a right to goods that work, at least for a time.

Property Ownership: How Do We Keep Property in the Family?

How do we put my mother's real estate in mine and my siblings’ names in a way that keeps it in the immediate family?

Child Custody and Placement - Who Wins?

My husband and I are divorcing, and we both want sole custody of our only child. We aren’t able to resolve this ourselves, and it will probably end up in court. Since I’m the mother, isn’t it most likely I’ll win?

Four Tips for Protecting Your Privacy on Smart Phones

While enlightening, the Wall Street Journal’s report last month exposing how some smart phone applications track users was also disappointing.

Franchises: What to watch (out) for

When you consider that franchises annually generate two trillion dollars worldwide and account for 50 percent of all retail sales in the United States, it’s no wonder many entrepreneurs engage in this form of business ownership.

Think ahead before you post - what you post may be used against you

That photo you posted on Facebook of yourself dancing in the bar a week after an injury that supposedly left you permanently disabled? Not a good idea.

Get the slip on 'slip and fall' accident liability

We live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, where we share a joke: we have six months of winter and six months of construction. Both can present opportunities for falls that are best prevented.

Steps when you are stopped by police after drinking and driving

When you see the flashing police lights behind you and you've been drinking, what should you do?  

Safe toys for the Holidays: What smart consumers need to know

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you inadvertently give a child an unsafe toy this holiday season, it could become the most dreadful.

Safe toys for the Holidays; choosing safe online games

It happens every year at this time, but still it somehow manages to sneak up on us. Yes, it’s holiday shopping season again, and it’s time for an annual reminder of how to make smart choices for your kids.

Intellectual Property and the Internet: What to know before you post

When the Internet first began to shape popular culture more than a decade ago, few could have anticipated the astounding impact it would have on commerce, education and even social relationships. 

Business valuations important for many reasons

Many business owners work day in and day out to build value in their companies, but few know the actual value of their enterprise.

Grandparents (sometimes) have legal right to visit grandchildren

Grandparents often lament not seeing their grandchildren as often as they’d like.

Collecting child support from out-of-state parents

When a divorced parent decides to move out-of-state, child support payments rank along with custody and visitation at the top of concerns--especially for the parent receiving the child support payment.

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Heed embezzlement warning signs

 It's an unfortunate reality that employers need to vigilantly safeguard their assets from those they must trust the most: their own employees.

Tougher drunken driving laws now in effect in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s broad-sweeping reform of laws governing operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a little less broad in its sweep when compared with other states and countries.

New Power of Attorney rules take effect Sept. 1, 2010

A new law in Wisconsin clarifies rules governing durable powers of attorney for finances, also known as a “POA.”

Selling Your Business: Should You or Shouldn't You?

A time comes in every business life cycle when an owner considers selling his or her company.

Libel and Slander: Do blogs count?

If you think blogs are out of control during elections, you are not alone.

Avoid common estate planning mistakes

At first glance, estate planning can seem like an unpleasant task.


Boating safety: understanding of laws, common sense required

When the high temperatures of summer hit, there’s nothing like a day on the water.

Identity Theft: Consumers are own best weapon

Identity theft is one of the most common crimes in the country, affecting approximately 9-10 million Americans each year.

Protect Your Credit Rating

The first step in protecting your credit rating is understanding how creditors decide whether to lend you money or what interest rate to charge you.

An employer's guide to unemployment tax

The economy may be improving but unemployment rates show no signs of declining.

Divorcing couples means dividing property

Estimates suggest that more than 2,500 couples divorce each day in the United States. 


Choosing an Attorney: Five Tips to Follow

Whether you need help with estate planning, a divorce or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want and need to have the right attorney in your corner.

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Property rights: approach nuisance neighbors with care

Whether you rent or own your home, chances are at some point you will encounter a problem with a neighbor. Noise and boundary issues are among the most common, but neighbor complaints can run the gamut from unpleasant odors and mosquito-infested bird baths to dilapidated fences and fierce pets. Whatever the case, nuisance laws provide your best shot at continuing to enjoy both your property and your neighbors.


Lawsuit basics: what to do when your business gets sued

Few business owners begin operations expecting to be sued, but statistics from the United States Department of Justice suggest it’s a reality many will face at some point.

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Alternative dispute resolution can save time and money

Considered cost-effective, fast, flexible and fair, ADR is the most popular method for resolving disputes in this region.

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5 tips for choosing a great lawyer

Whether you need help with estate planning, a divorce or a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want and need to have the right attorney in your corner.