While there are hundreds of family law attorneys in the state, there are few with the experience of representing over 1,000 clients with their family law matters. Michele understands full well the complexities involved in family law, and in fact, her approach is straight forward: identify the issues, and manage and obtain your goals using a customized approach. Whether you are looking for a family lawyer to assist you with a divorce, custody or placement dispute, adoption, issues related to domestic partnership, or any other family matter, Michele is able to assist.
She represents clients in a variety of areas and whether the matter is simple and straight forward, or complicated and complex, each of her clients receives the personal service they deserve. Michele has represented clients in trial and appellate courts throughout Wisconsin and has handled complex cases involving business entities or multiple properties and financial issues. Additionally, she handles cases with lesser financial matters at stake, but with very personal issues involving custody, placement, adoption, or similar matters. She knows that every family law matter is the highest priority for her clients, and responds accordingly. No case is too big, as DeWitt has the experience and resources and no case is too “small,” because all family law cases are the most important matter in our clients’ lives.
Michele’s professional training and experience as a counselor adds an additional, personal dimension to her background which helps her assist clients in achieving positive results in an efficient and reasonable manner. In most cases, she is able to negotiate full resolution of disputes without the need for trial. However, if a matter can’t be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration, she has the skill and litigation experience you need in the courtroom. In addition to her family law litigation experience, Michele has successfully litigated cases ranging from estate disputes to multi-million dollar property tax disputes.
While in law school, she received numerous awards for academic achievement and leadership. Before joining DeWitt Ross & Stevens, Michele interned with Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.
Michele has represented clients ranging from owners of major corporations and business entities to parents who have been out of the workforce for some time due to staying home and raising children, and everything in between.
Michelle has handled a variety of matters, including:
- A client who—along with several family members-- built a company from one dump truck to a multi-million dollar construction corporation employing well over 50 employees. The client’s goal was to ensure that the family business stayed in the family to pass along to the next generation. That goal was met.
- A mother who obtained a very poor result from a trial court while represented by another attorney. When no one else would take the case, Michele stepped in and by applying both her counseling background and litigation experience, eventually secured primary placement for her client.
- An international case in which a child was improperly removed from his father, involving international law as well as legal proceedings in two states in the United States. Michele prevailed against the adverse parties, who seemingly had unlimited funds for litigation. She eventually secured the return of the child to his father.
- Numerous cases involving the rights and protections for parties in non-traditional relationships, including formation and dissolution of domestic partnerships, securing legal protection for children of same-sex couples, and representing parties to ensure that their relationships are protected through the use of a combination of estate planning, powers of attorney, and other legal documents.
- Michele has prevailed in appeals to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, including matters such as reversing the trial court’s order regarding maintenance payments to be paid from her client (Callen v. Callen, 2009 WI App 128) and securing a trial court’s substantial award of property and assets to her client in a cohabitation case (Haefner v. Fitzgibbon, 2007 WI App 251).
Articles / Presentations
In addition to her practice, Michele serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, teaching classes related to family law as well as non-traditional family law (e.g., domestic partnerships, alternatives to adoption).
Michele is frequently called on as a speaker for Continuing Legal Education courses for lawyers in areas including family law and also at an annual ethics seminar for lawyers. As a member of the Wisconsin State Bar Family Law Section Board of Directors, she testifies before the Wisconsin Legislature regarding legislation that affects families. Recently, she presented "Protecting Children of Gay and Lesbian Families: Challenges, Opportunities, and Where We go From Here." to the Wisconsin Association of Court Commissioners.