September 2011 Archives

September 26, 2011

BOUNDARY ENCROACHMENT? YOUR REMEDY MAY DEPEND ON RELATIONS WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR

So you've decided to sell your residence and you have discovered an encroachment on your boundary line with your adjacent neighbor. This can take the form of a driveway that lies partially over the lot line, or even a garage that straddles the lot line. Whatever the case, you will have to deal with the situation prior to closing. In most cases your neighbor will grant a simple easement allowing the encroachment to remain. But what if your neighbor declines to grant an easement?

We recently faced this very situation in which a paved driveway was placed approximately one foot over the lot line. For various reasons, the neighbor refused to grant an easement and instead offered to sell the area of encroachment to our client. This greatly complicated the situation, but with proper planning we were able to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the neighbor, the neighbor's lender, the buyer's lender, and the title company.

In this case, we had to first determine the area to be conveyed by means of a survey and needed to confirm zoning requirements. The next step was to determine the existence of any encumbrances on the area to be conveyed which required a title search on the neighbor's property. Once these measures were taken, we reached an agreement with the neighbor for the transfer of the encroachment area. Amendments were made to the purchase contract in the underlying transaction and partial releases of mortgages were obtained on the neighbor's property to assure that clear title would be conveyed. Finally, we obtained city approval of the plat of survey and successful closings followed.

This account shows that sometimes the apparently routine real estate transaction can suddenly present unexpected challenges. An attorney must be prepared to handle these challenges. Although we represented the seller in this instance, a buyer must also need to be aware of this potential issue.

September 14, 2011

Child Support Oral Argument in Wisconsin Supreme Court Scheduled for October 6

In January we blogged about a child support issue that's headed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That case has now been scheduled for oral argument. Attorney Keith Wessel of Wessel, Lehker & Fumelle will argue the case before the full Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday, October 6, at 1:30 pm.

Under current Wisconsin child support law, parents may not agree to a maximum amount of child support. Such agreements are held to violate public policy because children should share in their parents' increased earnings. Yet the courts have imposed few restrictions on parents' agreements on a minimum amount of child support. In the case before the court, the child support payer's income decreased - a common scenario in today's economy - yet the payer was precluded from seeking a reduction in his child support payments. We argue that child support should be modifiable as the parents' financial circumstances change, whether the modification is an increase in child support or a decrease in child support.

With the current composition of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the October 6 argument should be lively and interesting. Oral arguments in the Wisconsin Supreme Court are open to the public. Come hear a thought-provoking argument and, whatever your opinion, demonstrate by your presence that the public cares about this issue.