Establishing Paternity in Wisconsin | Eisenberg Law

How to establish paternity in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law does not automatically grant legal rights to unwed fathers. Unless you establish legal paternity, the mother has sole legal custody of the child. This means the father has no legal right to decide issues like where the child will live, what schools the child will attend, or what religious instruction the child will receive. Even if you have been a part of the child’s life, these rights can be removed at any time unless you establish legal paternity.

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

You can establish your paternity through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, or VAP. This is an official form that both parents sign, agreeing that you are the father of the child. You can do this when the child is born or later, so long as both parents agree. If you are not certain whether you are the father, you should consult an attorney before you sign a VAP.

Court Proceeding

If you cannot get a VAP in place, you can file a paternity motion and request a court hearing. As part of the proceeding, the court will order genetic testing to determine paternity. If the test confirms you are the father, the court will then determine custody, visitation, financial obligations, and other issues based on the best interests of the child and the law. Depending on the circumstances, this can be done as a temporary order or a final order contained in a paternity judgment.

Guardian ad Litum

Often, the parties agree to the paternity issues and sign a permanent agreement. If you cannot agree, the court will refer the matter for a custody study and/or appoint a guardian ad litum to observe the parents’ interactions and living arrangements with the child. A family care counselor or guardian ad litum will then make recommendations to the court that, along with any evidence the parents provide, will help the court reach a permanent custody and support decision.

This important process can be difficult to navigate. If you need help establishing paternity for a child, you should seek experienced legal help.  Contact Eisenberg Law to discuss your situation.

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Opioid Use in Wisconsin: Heroin and Prescription Painkillers A Growing Concern

Arrested for Opioids in Wisconsin?  What should you do?

Opioid addiction and abuse has emerged as one of the great health crises of our time. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, opioids were responsible for 827 deaths in the state in 2016–more than the death toll from car accidents. They are powerful and addictive, and can create problems through overdoses, addiction, and impairment. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, you should seek help from one of the many resources working to assist those in need.

What Are Opioids?

When you think of opioids, heroin likely comes in top of mind. Indeed, some people refer almost interchangeably to the heroin epidemic and the opioid epidemic. But many other forms of opioids exist, and many are legal as prescription medicine including:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Methadone

Doctors often prescribe these drugs as pain relievers. Unfortunately, their strength helps make them both addictive and dangerous to many who take them. It is illegal to take these drugs without an active prescription.

Legal Ramifications of Opioid Addiction

Opioids are considered controlled substances under Wisconsin law, due to their effects on users and addictive nature. And unfortunately, their use has only grown over the last decade. Whether people get hooked on opioids that have been prescribed or borrow or buy them from someone else, the addiction can take a great deal of effort to overcome.

Because of this classification, you can be arrested for illegal possession of opioids. If you drive while taking them, you are also subject to fines, arrest, and license suspension for driving under the influence. What you think of as something for your pain may well leave you facing drug charges that greatly impact your life.

If you are struggling with opioids, you should look for help from a health or counseling professional. But if you are arrested in Wisconsin for illegal possession, use, or DUI related to opioids, the legal team at Eisenberg Law Offices can help.

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Understanding Wisconsin’s Distracted Driver Laws

Distracted Driving in Wisconsin – be familiar with the laws

Wisconsin, like many states, has a law against distracted driving. Specifically, under Wisconsin Statute 346.89, no one may perform any activity “that interferes or reasonably appears to interfere” with the ability to drive. This law is vague enough to give courts a great deal of room for interpretation. Still, demonstrating another driver was distracted at the time of an accident can help you demonstrate fault and recover damages in your accident.

Cell Phones and Distracted Driving

The statute goes into specifics when it comes to cell phones. No one driving a vehicle–including when stopped in traffic or at a signal, is allowed to send a text message or an email, or dial using more than a single button. Further, no one who is newly licensed may use a mobile device at all while driving, even a hands-free device. Finally, the law prohibits anyone from using a phone in a construction zone.

All of these prohibitions come in response to the known dangers of distracted driving, and the proliferation of mobile devices among the public. Focusing on a smartphone rather than the road causes hundreds of accidents every year. If another driver is violating these rules at the time of your accident, you have a greater chance of showing that driver was at fault.

Other Forms of Distracted Driving

While the Wisconsin statute focuses on mobile phones, its terms are not limited to those devices. A driver can be distracted by eating a snack or meal, drinking coffee, turning to speak to a passenger, using the car radio, or hundreds of other activities. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road creates an instance of distracted driving, and can help you demonstrate that person’s fault in your accident.

Distracted drivers are dangerous. They create hazards on the road that you cannot always avoid, no matter how careful you are. If a distracted driver in Wisconsin caused you injuries in a car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices. We will help you recover your damages.

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Out of State Auto Accidents

What to do if you are injured in an out of state auto accident

Every state has different laws that apply to auto accidents. Personal injury laws and insurance regulations across state lines can make a big difference in determining your rights and your ability to recover damages. If you are traveling outside of Wisconsin, understanding the laws under which your accident falls is critical to getting the compensation you deserve.

Choice of Law

In most cases, an out of state accident will apply the personal injury laws that exist where the accident occurs. If you file a lawsuit, you will typically do so there, and need an attorney licensed in that state. Sometimes, though, you can file a lawsuit in Wisconsin even if the accident occurred in another state. Depending on where you file, the laws vary significantly, and affect both what you have to prove and what you can recover. So before you decide how to handle your accident claim, take the time to sit with an experienced lawyer in your state. A consultation to talk you through the legal issues involved can help you understand the law.

Insurance Issues

Beyond personal injury laws, you may have insurance regulations that affect your rights. The insurance companies may try to steer you toward a settlement process that makes you give up your rights. Some states have no-fault insurance coverage for their drivers, while others, like Wisconsin, operate under a comparative negligence system. Applying one or the other makes a tremendous difference in what you can recover.

Out of state accidents create anxiety even beyond what you ordinarily experience in a vehicle accident. The attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices will sit with you and talk through your accident, your available claims, and your rights. Even if your accident occurs outside of Wisconsin, we can get you started toward the legal recovery you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start on your path forward.

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Marijuana-Related DUI In Wisconsin Defense Options

Driving While Under The Influence Of Marijuana May Lead To A DUI In Wisconsin

As states have approved marijuana for recreational use, the courts have seen an increase in marijuana cases – particularly in states like Wisconsin where marijuana has not been approved for recreational use. In Wisconsin, marijuana use is still against the law and the penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana are high. In fact, driving while under the influence of marijuana can lead to a DUI in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Is A Zero-Tolerance State

Wisconsin has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to controlled substances, including marijuana. Unlike alcohol, for which the state has established a legal limit, if a driver is caught with any detectable amount of a restricted substance, like marijuana, in their system he/she will be charged with driving under the influence by the state. The only exception to this rule is if you have a valid prescription for delta-nine THC.

Delta-nine THC is a metabolite found in marijuana that is known to cause impairment. When a driver is suspected of marijuana use, their blood is tested for this substance. However, because the state does not require proof of impairment and has the zero-tolerance policy, even trace amounts of marijuana that may have been ingested days prior can lead to a DUI.

That means that even unimpaired drivers who used marijuana in recent days can face the same penalties as drivers who exceed the legal alcohol limit.

A Prescription Can Improve Your Defense

If you have a prescription for medical marijuana, your attorney may be able to offer it as a defense, but having a valid prescription for delta-nine THC is only a defense to the charge of drugged driving. It does not mean you won’t face other charges, such as Operating While Under the Influence of a Restricted Controlled Substance.

There are also considerations to using the prescription as a defense.

For example, it’s only valid if:

  1. The prescription was written before the date of your arrest, and
  2. You must be using the medication as prescribed.

Fight A Marijuana-Related DUI In Wisconsin

The prescription defense is just one defense option available to Wisconsin drivers facing a marijuana-related DUI. To explore all of your defense options, contact a DUI attorney at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices for a free case evaluation at 608-256-8356 or

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Assumption Of Risk In Personal Injury Cases | Eisenberg Law

Assumption Of Risk Or Comparative Negligence And What It Means In Personal Injury Cases

Assumption of Risk is a common defense strategy used by defendants to try and minimize their liability for a plaintiff’s injuries. It’s not something that is relevant to every personal injury case but when it does come up, there is a greater chance of the plaintiff losing out on compensation for the injuries suffered.

Tort Law And Negligence

Assumption of risk in personal injury cases has its basis in tort law. Torts are “wrongs” that a person has suffered due to another’s negligence or intentional actions. They are a leading cause of personal injury lawsuits. When a person has been injured (the plaintiff) in this manner, they are able to sue the other party (the defendant) to recover damages for the injuries suffered.

Legal Defense In Tort Cases

Legal defenses in tort cases are considered a valid or acceptable excuse. When defendants use legal defenses in tort and personal injury cases, they are admitting that they did something to cause injury to the plaintiff but that the plaintiff should not be eligible to recover damages or the damages should be less.

In personal injury cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant caused harm to them. The defendant may offer up a legal defense against the claim, but he/she must prove that the defense is applicable to the case.

How Assumption Of Risk Comes Into Play As A Personal Injury Defense

When using this defense in a personal injury case, the defendant argues that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for the injuries he/she suffered based on his/her actions or inactions. Therefore, because the plaintiff knew or should have known that his/her actions were potentially injurious, the plaintiff should not be able to recover damages for those injuries or at least not the entire amount of damages.

One common example is people who participate in extreme sports. If an injury occurs during the playing of the sport and the plaintiff decides to sue the host site or facility where the sport was taking place, the defendant could argue that the plaintiff knew that they were undertaking a risky activity and should not be allowed to collect damages as a result.

Contact us at 608-256-8356 or email us at to arrange a free case consultation today!

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Questions For Your OWI Attorney In Madison WI

Questions To Ask Before Hiring An OWI Attorney In Madison, WI

It may seem like the worst is over once you’ve posted bail and been released after an OWI arrest, but  there’s more to come. Now is the time to start looking for an OWI attorney in Madison, WI who can help you defend yourself against the charges and possibly save your license.

But how do you go about doing that? How do you find a qualified OWI attorney? Start with the list below. We’ve assembled a list of questions to ask an OWI attorney before hiring him or her to defend you.

7 Questions To Ask When Interviewing An OWI Attorney In Madison, WI

You’ll need help fighting OWI charges in Wisconsin. The law has become stricter in recent years, creating a need for experienced legal counsel in almost every OWI or DUI situation. Use the following questions to help find an attorney that will look out for your best interests and provide you with the best outcome.

  1. How Long Have You Been A Criminal Defense Attorney?

OWI charges in Wisconsin bring with them hefty fines, driving restrictions, and can lead to jail time. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who has familiarity with the state’s drunk driving laws and with criminal defense.

  1. How Much Experience Do You Have Handling This Type Of Case?

While experience with criminal defense is desirable, you want to make sure it’s the right kind of experience. Ask about the attorney’s background with Wisconsin OWI/DUI and, in particular, your specific situation and/or charges, including their experience with jury trials.

  1. What Is My Best And Worst-Case Scenario?

You want an attorney who will be honest with you. It does you no good if the attorney sugar coats your situation. Ask for their honest opinion of your situation and your chances of success/failure to see if they will be straight with your or tell you only what they think you want to hear.

  1. What Is Your Fee Structure And What Is Included In The Fee?

Fees can play a major part in the decision of whom you hire to represent you. Ask about the fee structure upfront so you know how much and what type of assistance you will receive.

  1. How Familiar Are You With The Local Court System?

Knowledge of the local courts, judges, recorders, and staff can go a long way towards influencing a positive outcome for you. At a minimum the attorney should be familiar with the county and state within which you have been charged.

  1. What Kind Of Defense Strategy Do You Expect To Employ?

Ask what kinds of defenses are available in cases like yours and which one the attorney thinks would be most effective in this situation.

  1. What Kind Of Communication Can I Expect From You?

Find out how and how often the attorney will communicate with you. You want to get an idea of the attorney’s communication style and responsiveness to you.

Meet With An OWI Attorney In Madison, WI At Eisenberg Law Offices

The criminal defense attorneys at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices have over 35 years of experience defending our clients in the Wisconsin court system. Our drunk driving defense attorneys represent clients facing charges of OWI, DUI, and DWI in Madison and beyond.

We offer free case consultations to ensure we are a good fit for one another. Please arrange a case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing

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Construction Injury Accident Liability | Eisenberg Law

Who Is Liable In A Construction Injury Accident?

Injuries are common at Wisconsin construction sites and when they occur the injured workers might ask who, if anyone, is liable for their injuries. Determining liability in a construction injury accident can be complex and multi-faceted and there are many layers and levels of protection for both workers and employers, but with help from an experienced personal injury attorney, injured workers can get the compensation they are due.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The first benefit that comes to mind when you’ve been injured at work is workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses and some lost income. Workers’ compensation claims only require the worker to demonstrate that an injury occurred while at work. They don’t assign liability or blame for the accident. Workers’ compensation benefits usually include the caveat that the worker cannot sue the employer.

Liability For Construction Injury Accidents

Many accidents are simply accidents. There is no one to blame and the injury may be chalked up to simple bad luck. At other times, another party may be responsible or liable for a construction injury accident. In those situations, an injured worker can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, as long as it is not the employer. This does not preclude them from also filing for workers’ compensation.

So, Who Can Be Held Liable For A Construction Accident Injury?

Many people, including:

  • Construction site owners
  • General contractors
  • Sub-contractors
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Third-party people or businesses that contributed to the injury due to negligence or gross misconduct

One of the biggest factors in determining liability, particularly for site owners and contractors, is the amount of control they have over the site premises and the working being done. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires general contractors and subcontractors to provide workers with a reasonably safe working environment. They must also warn workers of any hazards that are part of the job and they must ensure that the work is performed in a safe manner. This includes making sure that all safety regulations are followed.

Equipment manufacturers can be held liable if they produce a faulty product that causes or contributes to the injury, or if they don’t include adequate warnings or instructions on the proper use of the machine or equipment.

Types Of Construction Injury Lawsuits

There are many different types of construction injury lawsuits. The type of lawsuit depends on the circumstances surrounding the injury or accident. Construction injury lawsuits may fall into any of the following categories:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits.
  • Product Liability Lawsuits.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits.

Compensation And Construction Injury Lawsuits

Filing a construction injury lawsuit makes it possible for an injured worker to try and recover damages in the form of financial compensation for their injuries. Damages may be awarded for:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Loss of livelihood in the case of injuries that affect your ability to work
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
  • Punitive damages

If you are injured on the job, it’s important to document everything related to the injury and the events leading up to it. Anything that could be a factor in the injury should be included such as medical claims, witnesses, photographs, etc. If you do decide to pursue a claim, this information will be important evidence.

Finally, it is critical to any type of personal injury case, including construction injury cases, that you enlist the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the incident to learn about your options and understand your rights.

For construction injury lawsuits in Wisconsin, visit Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison. We have over 35 years of experience in personal injury law and work closely with every one of our clients to develop the optimal legal strategy for the situation.

Contact Eisenberg Law Offices for a free case evaluation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing

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How Much Child Support Will I Get in Wisconsin?

How to Calculate Wisconsin Child Support

Child support is an obligation. If you’ve had children and you and your spouse are no longer together, that does not let your spouse off the hook for financially contributing to the support of the children. However, calculating child support in Wisconsin can be tricky because of extenuating factors available for paying spouses. There are general guidelines you can use to calculate what you’d get in Wisconsin, but be aware that the court can modify this amount in certain circumstances.

In general, the court will look at the Percentage of Income Standard to determine a basic amount of support. For example, if you have two children who primarily reside with you, and your spouse earns $2,000 gross per month, your spouse would have to pay you $500 per month in child support according to that standard. The percentage is applied to the gross income because the state does not want spouses hiding income through deductions and other tax and investment tricks.

However, the court can adjust the amount up or down. For example, if your spouse has to live in an expensive city because that’s where the work is, then the court could reduce the amount you get so that your spouse can still pay basic costs like his or her own rent. Conversely, if the amount of child support is really too low considering your child’s circumstances — for example, maybe your child has a disability that requires extra medical treatment, which increases the amount of money you need to care for the child — then the court can raise the amount of support.

Courts can also use non-wage/salary assets to calculate support. For example, if your spouse has many lucrative investments but earns very little from an actual job, the court can base the support amount on the income from those investments.

If you would like to discuss child support or think that your spouse is trying to evade financial responsibility, contact Eisenberg Law Offices. Our attorneys can help you get a child support amount that is adequate for you and your child’s needs.

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Conviction for juvenile crimes do not have to ruin one’s life

Juvenile crimes in Wisconsin – how to protect your future

Conviction for a juvenile crime is serious, but it does not have to be the end of the world for you. Wisconsin courts consider extenuating circumstances, including your behavior before and after the crime. This gives you an opportunity to show to the court that you may deserve more lenient sentencing.

Courts in Wisconsin look not only at the type of crime, but also the life of the person who was convicted of committing that crime. This is an attempt to ensure that those who are not likely to cause more problems do not end up trapped by a criminal conviction. This does not mean that everyone who looks like an angel on paper will get a light sentence, but it does mean that the court will carefully consider more than just the one incident.

For example, a 16-year-old girl was responsible for crashing an SUV in 2014. The crash killed two other girls, and while the exact sequence of events leading up to the crash was not clear, what was clear was that the driver was not driving safely at the time of the accident. However, because the girl had cooperated fully with law enforcement and had not been in trouble before, she got off with rather light sentences — supervision, community service, and an order to either be in school or have a job — even though she was tried in both juvenile and adult courts.

Compare that to the case of a 15-year-old boy sentenced in 2014 for car theft. He was tried as a juvenile, but ended up with a sentence of a year in a group home because of his extensive record of previous thefts.

If you are facing a trial in juvenile court, contact Eisenberg Law Offices. Talk to our attorneys about showing the court that you are not going to be a continuing problem for authorities. This could help get you a lighter sentence that doesn’t derail your life.

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