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Finding The Right Child Custody Arrangement

When a couple with children divorces, issues regarding their children’s custody are often front and center in their divorce settlement negotiations. A divorce means an end to all that the family has considered “normal,” and the thought of not seeing one’s children on a daily basis anymore can be incredibly upsetting for most parents.

The court does all that it can to ensure that a divorcing couple’s children have consistent, healthy relationships with both parents after their divorce. It does this by creating child custody agreements based on the factors present in the parents’ lives and the children’s personal needs.

How Are Custody And Visitation Determined In Wisconsin?

The court considers many factors when determining an appropriate custody or visitation arrangement for a child after divorce. These factors include:

  • The child’s academic, personal, and medical needs;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and others present in each parent’s household;
  • Recommendations from professionals involved in the case, such as a child psychologist or a Guardian Ad Litem;
  • Each parent’s income and assets;
  • Access to childcare and other services from each parent’s home;
  • If the child is old enough to express a logical preference, the child’s wishes; and
  • Each parent’s history with the court, such as his or her willingness to cooperate with court orders.

After two years of the initial creation of a custody order, a parent may petition to the court to have it altered if he or she feels it is not his or her child’s best interest.

Joint Custody Versus Sole Custody

The term “custody” refers to a parent’s right to make decisions on the child’s behalf. “Placement” refers to where the child physically resides. The court uses the factors above to determine an appropriate placement schedule for a couple’s children, such as placement with one parent during the week and the other on specific weekends. Unless there is a reason why a parent should not have custody of his or her child, such as a history of domestic violence or criminal activity, the court usually creates joint custody agreements.

When only one parent is granted custody of their children, he or she has sole custody of them. When one parent has sole custody of their children, the other may have visitation, which means that he or she has a designated arrangement for spending time with the children but does not have the rights that come with having custody, such as the right to make decisions about the children’s education or healthcare. In some cases, other relatives can have visitation agreements with children as well, such as grandparents.

Contact Us Today

At Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, we work with Wisconsin parents and families to develop healthy custody arrangements that are in the best interest of the children involved. Contact our firm today by email or call us at 920-202-8872 or toll-free at 866-720-0009.