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Fathers' Rights During Divorce in Wisconsin

Nearly 70% of divorces in America are initiated by women, according to the American Sociological Association. If you’re a father going through a divorce or legal separation, it’s important you know your rights in order to obtain the child custody your kid(s) deserve. In Wisconsin, the legal father of a child has the same parental rights as the mother. Don’t let your child’s future be decided by the courts. Work with an experienced divorce lawyer that can lead you down the right path.

Unmarried Fathers' Rights

More often than not, men find themselves in a situation with a child on the way wondering, “Do unmarried fathers have rights?” In Wisconsin, the mother of a child born to unmarried parents is presumed to have sole custody, regardless of whether you are together or not. But here’s the good news: you do have father’s rights; you just have to stand up for them.

An unmarried father in Wisconsin can file a paternity case to establish that he is the legal father of a child. This begins the process of awarding many rights a father has such as custody, placement or visitation, support orders, and more. Rarely does a court find that sole custody is in the best interest of the child, and Wisconsin statutes indicate that the court shall presume legal joint custody is in the best interest of the child unless it is proven otherwise. 

Legal rights of a dad in Wisconsin going through a divorce

Divorced Fathers' Rights

Fathers' rights are also relevant in regard to divorce. Like a paternity case, the court will determine custody, placement and visitation, support orders, and more in the form of temporary orders. Once the divorce case has concluded, the court will issue final orders in regard to your child, which will be in effect for a minimum of two years.

Most family law firms don’t proclaim themselves advocates for men’s rights. Divergent has attorneys passionate about advocating for fathers’ rights in Wisconsin because we understand that it is a real issue in family law today. Advocating for a father’s rights isn’t advocating against a mother’s; it is simply fighting for utter fairness in the court of law, and a child’s right to the best childhood they can have.

References: Revision of legal custody and physical placement orders. Wisconsin State Legislature: 767.451 (2024). |

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