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.
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.
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?”
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?
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.
Divestment: Understanding legal alternatives
With nursing home costs now averaging close to $80,000 per year, it’s no wonder many seniors need the help of Medical Assistance or Medicaid when they hit a major health crisis.
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?
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.
Identity Theft Checklist
This checklist will help ensure that you're doing as much as possible to prevent identity theft.
Animal Companions: Three Legal Issues to Consider Before You Adopt
Companion animals can be wonderful additions to a home or family.
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?
Full Disclosure: Heidi Eglash
Here's a chance to see a whole other side of partner Heidi Eglash.
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.
Users Guide to Divorce
A booklet full of insider knowledge and tips to help you move through divorce.
Top 6 Myths About Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases aren't the slam dunks often featured on TV ads. Here's the reality.
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.
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.
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.
What NOT to Wear to Court
Wearing the wrong thing to court can decide your fate before you even see the judge.
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.
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.
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).
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?
How much does divorce cost in Wisconsin?
One of the first questions asked by someone contemplating divorce is how much does it cost?
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.
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 a new side of him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What's in a (business) name?
Attorney Greg Bonney is confident that if Susan McDonald named her hair salon “McDonald’s Salon,” she would not run into big tradename problems.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Cremation Law: What you need to know about cremation in WI and scattering ashes
Cremation in Wisconsin is gaining in popularity.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
Top six myths about personal injury cases
If you’ve ever watched daytime television, you’ve seen the commercials: “If you’ve been injured in an accident…,” “We’ve obtained millions of dollars for our clients…,” and so on. They can leave viewers believing we are all just one injury away from living a luxury lifestyle. While many people do have personal injury cases, and some may call for seven-figure settlements or jury awards, a lot of common beliefs about personal injury are really just myths.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Three bizarre social media lawsuits
We've blogged many times about the legal implications of social media...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
Renegotiating child placement: stay focused on the children
When parents divorce, lawyers will very likely advise them on developing a child placement schedule.
Slippery roads underscore importance of umbrella policies
Mother Nature served up a reason to reconsider that umbrella policy on your auto insurance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Five ways celebrity prenuptial ageements compare with those for the rest of us
It’s been a big year for celebrity weddings.
U.S. Supreme Court to discuss same-sex marriage
A lot of eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court next Monday.
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.
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.
Judge Judy versus small claims court: a battle for the real people's court
Judge Judy recently made headlines for being the highest-paid television personality in the world, pulling in $47 million per year for handing down her own brand of justice.
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.
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.
Plan now for big estate recovery changes
The countdown to Aug. 1, 2014 is on, but few Wisconsinites recognize the importance of that date.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Protecting consumer data requires vigilance
A few months ago it was Target and Michael’s. Then it was Heartbleed and Michael’s (again).
How giving affects Medicaid eligibility
Many people are confused by the differences between the tax rules governing gifting and Medicaid eligibility.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Cooperation key to child placement during the holidays
Holidays can be tricky when you have extended family.
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.
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.
Wisconsin gun laws similar to other states
Wisconsin courts have long allowed gun owners to openly carry handguns but not concealed weapons.
Look to Golden Rule for employee monitoring tips
Most employee policies today include provisions for employee monitoring.
Second marriage: how do we keep our assets separate?
I am in my 50s and engaged to be married this year.
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.
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.
"Fine print" musts for business websites
You may wonder if anyone actually reads those website terms and conditions found on most sites today.
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.
Grandparents rights: not a sure thing
Your heart melts when you think of your grandchildren, but your kids won’t allow you to see them.
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.
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.
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.
Verbal agreements: legally binding but open to interpretation
Technically, most verbal agreements are in fact legally binding.
Classic mistakes to avoid in a divorce
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buying a home: what must the seller disclose?
When you sell your home, you are required to complete and provide to potential purchasers a real estate condition report that lists current and corrected defects, including structural damage, roof problems, water damage, mold, floodplain issues, septic system and plumbing and electrical deficiencies.
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.
Naming your business: four steps to legally protect your business name
Opening a business is a big undertaking.
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.
Break it and buy it rules leave (ample) room for interpretation
It’s happened to the best of us.
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.
Q&A: As a nonprofit board member, can I be held liable?
I recently accepted an invitation to join a nonprofit board.
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.
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?
Take Control of Online Privacy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 cyper-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.
Child support - do I have to keep paying even though I lost my job?
I was just laid off from my job, but my ex is still demanding the same level of child support. I just don't have it. Do I have to keep paying?
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.
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?"
Do's and Don'ts after an auto accident
What should you do first after an automobile accident?
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.
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.
Statutory close corporations a great alternative for many businesses
One of the most elemental decisions small business owners must make is what structure their enterprise will take. Will they form a corporation or a partnership? Will their corporation be a general business corporation or a service corporation?
'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?
Understanding the process of small claims court
Whether for a minor fender-bender, a bad check or dissatisfaction with a transaction, people seeking legal redress for issues involving $10,000 or less can find it in small claims court. But don’t expect Judge Judy. Small claims courts are far less dramatic and much more focused on the facts.
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.
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.
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.
Buying Versus 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.
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.
Planned Giving - Should we leave our favorite charity a percentage or specific dollar amount
Attorney Greg Bonney recommends using a percentage rather than a dollar amount in your will.
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 â€” 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.
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.
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.
Conducting your own background check
I’ve been applying for jobs recently and a lot of employers want to conduct a background check.
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 â€” 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.
Fireworks â€” 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.
Boating safety: understanding of laws, common sense required
When the high temperatures of summer hit, there’s nothing like a day on the water.
Prenuptial Agreements Are Smart Estate Planning Tools
It’s an unfortunate reality that one in every two marriages will end in divorce.
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.
Heed Embezzlement Warning Signs
Recent events in the greater La Crosse area demonstrate that no business, no region is immune from the threat of embezzlement.
Five Steps to Avoid Online Defamation
As recently as 20 years ago, members of the press were pretty much the only people who had to worry about issues like defamation and libel.
An employer's guide to unemployment tax
The economy may be improving but unemployment rates show no signs of declining.
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.
Divorcing couples means dividing property
Estimates suggest that more than 2,500 couples divorce each day in the United States.
State law offers help for those squeezed by lemons
Worn out transmissions, timing belts and brakes are to be expected on cars and trucks that have wracked up tens of thousands of miles over the years.
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.
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.
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.
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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