Wisconsin Child Custody Attorneys
What rights and responsibilities come with legal custody in Wisconsin?
What are considered major decisions?
Major decisions include:
- Consent to marry
- Consent to enter military service
- Consent to obtain a driver's license
- Authorization for nonemergency health care
- Choice of school and religion
Two types of legal custody
- Joint legal custody: both parties share legal custody and neither party's legal custody rights are superior unless specified in the final order. This is the typical 50/50 custody most people think of.
- Sole legal custody: only one party has legal custody.
Under Wisconsin statute, joint custody is presumed to be in the best interest of the children. 50/50 custody means that parties must work together in order to make major decisions affecting the life of their child or children. Both parents have the equal ability to make major parental decisions for the children, i.e. schooling, religion, marriage as a minor or joining the military as a minor.
Getting sole custody is difficult. The easiest way to receive sole custody is if both parties agree that custody should be granted to one parent. In most cases, courts will follow what the parties agree on if they agree that it is in the child’s best interest. The court will also consider ordering sole custody to one parent if the other parent cannot perform their parental responsibilities or if the parents choose not to agree on major decisions regarding their children.
If the parties are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth and they do not acknowledge paternity at the time of birth, it is presumed the mother has sole custody until a paternity action is established.
Interested in filing for child custody today? Contact one of our experienced child custody lawyers.
Mediation for Child Custody:
When the parties are unable to come to an agreement on a custodial issue, they can hire a private mediator to assist them in the decision. If the disagreement is brought to the court's attention, the court may issue an order requiring mediation. A court may also appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interest of the children while the case is pending. A neutral third party mediator can be helpful when resolving disputes for the best interest of the children.
Modification of Child Custody:
When there is a dispute on an existing court order for child custody, parties may want to go to court to ask to modify the child custody. It is difficult to modify child custody within the first two years of a final hearing.
For the court to approve a modification of child custody you need:
- Evidence of physically or emotionally harmful circumstances for the child
- Evidence that changing custody would be in the best interest of the child
What is the difference between custody and placement?
- Legal Custody: The legal authority to make major decisions affecting the lives of your children. These major decisions for the children include schooling, religion, marriage as a minor or joining the military as a minor.
- Physical Placement: The right of a parent to have the child physically placed with them, and the right and responsibility for the parent to make routine, daily decisions of the child. The routine decisions cannot conflict with the legal custodian of the child. Some examples of routine decisions include bed-time, extracurricular activities, and homework.
Both custody and placement can be modified and have separate processes of modification.
All-inclusive family law services
The child custody lawyers at Divergent Family Law will ease your family back into stability as efficiently as possible, placing the well-being of your child above all else. From child custody mediation to child support litigation, Divergent is Wisconsin's top choice for keeping the children first.
Divergent Family Law can help you through the entire Wisconsin divorce process including:
- Filing a petition
- Temporary orders
- Child custody and placement
- Child support
- Child support calculator
- Spousal support
- Courtroom trial