Wisconsin Child Custody and Child Visitation
Wisconsin courts hope that parents can make child custody and child visitation proceedings easy on the children and amicably come to a resolution on the issues. If parents are unable to come to a compromise on how to raise their children, then Wisconsin courts will intervene and decide these difficult issues for them. Courts aim to do what is in the best interests of the child when deciding child custody and visitation rights in Wisconsin. This determination is made by assessing a number of different factors provided by Wisconsin law. These factors and other relevant topics are discussed below. If you are contemplating going to court over child custody or child visitation issues in Wisconsin, it is advisable to discuss the process with a Wisconsin child custody attorney.
Wisconsin Child Custody
Courts in Wisconsin will grant a parent joint or sole custody of a child. Wisconsin courts favor joint custody, presuming this form of child custody is in the best interests of the child, because it allows the best opportunity to have both parents be in frequent and continuing contact with the child.
A Wisconsin court may NOT give sole legal custody based on one parent’s unreasonable refusal to cooperate with the other parent. Wisconsin courts will award sole custody if it is in the child’s best interests and either of the following applies:
If a parent has been found to have committed a serious act of or pattern of domestic violence (against the other parent), then the court will find a rebuttable presumption that it is detrimental to the child and contrary to the best interests of the child to award joint or sole custody to that parent. The party can rebut this presumption by either successfully completing treatment for batterers or by proving that is in the best interests of the child for the parent to have joint or sole custody.
Wisconsin courts may modify or otherwise alter a final custody order within two years after the final order is made. However, the custody order may be modified after two years if the party seeking modification shows substantial evidence that the modification is necessary because the conditions of custody are harmful to the child’s physical or emotional well-being.
The importance of the child custody process warrants retaining legal counsel to aid in your child custody case. A Wisconsin child custody attorney should be consulted before going through child custody proceedings.
Wisconsin Child Visitation Rights
Wisconsin courts grant reasonable child visitation rights to noncustodial parents and nonparents. Visitation rights refer to the legal rights of noncustodial parents and noncustodial nonparent’s to visit and spend time with the child.
In order to receive visitation rights, a court must find that granting child visitation in Wisconsin to the person is in the child’s best interests. A court generally may not grant Wisconsin visitation rights to a person who has been convicted of first degree murder of anyone or second degree murder of a parent of the child. The only exception to this bar is that granting visitation rights to the person would be in the child’s best interests.
Nonparents that may petition to receive visitation rights in Wisconsin include:
In regard to visitation rights for grandparents, the court must find that granting visitation rights would be in the child’s best interests and: a) the grandparent has maintained a relationship with the child or has attempted to maintain a relationship but was prevented by a parent; b) the child has not been adopted; c) the child’s parents are not married; and d) the grandparent is not likely to act contrary to the decisions made by the parent of the child relating to the child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Adequate representation when attempting to receive or fight against granting visitation rights is crucial. Be sure to discuss your child visitation rights with a Wisconsin child custody lawyer who is familiar with child visitation rights.