As an Appleton parent, you have certain legal rights. These rights include the right to seek custody or visitation of your child and the right to seek child support from your child’s other parent to help cover the expenses of caring for your child. You and your former partner both have these rights unless they are terminated by the court, which can happen if the court determines that doing so is in your child’s best interest.
As you begin the divorce process, take the time to educate yourself on your parental rights and the current Wisconsin laws that govern them, such as laws regarding grandparents’ rights.
Terminating Parental Rights in Wisconsin
A parent may have his or her parental rights involuntarily terminated if the court deems this to be in the child’s best interest. This may be the case if the court finds that the parent abandoned the child for a prolonged period of time or abused the child, or if the parent somehow cannot fulfill his or her responsibilities to the child. An example of this is a parent spending his or her money to feed an addiction, rather than his or her child.
A parent may also voluntarily give up his or her parental rights. This may be done if one parent’s new partner wants to adopt a child and the child’s other parent feels the adoption would be in the child’s best interest.
Gender Does Not Impact an Individual’s Parental Rights
Many individuals incorrectly assume that mothers have greater rights to their children than fathers. This is not true. Your gender has no impact on your parental rights.
Asserting your Parental Rights and Filing Parental Rights Actions
All parental rights actions, such as a motion to voluntarily terminate your parental rights or an action to terminate your former partner’s parental rights, must be filed with the circuit court of the county where you or your child’s other parent reside.
Assert your rights as a parent by taking the time to collect and provide evidence that demonstrates your fitness to parent to the court. This can include testimonies from your child’s teacher, pediatrician and others discussing your relationship with your child as well as collected data from a psychological counseling session or child custody evaluation. Your lawyer can be your advocate and guide you through these often stressful interactions with the court. When asserting your parental rights, remember to focus on the positive, not the negative. Putting your former partner down will not make you look like a better parent for your child.
Work with an Experienced Appleton Family Law Attorney
As a parent, one of the hardest parts of the divorce process is having to demonstrate that you have a strong relationship with your children and that you are capable of providing for them. As experienced divorce lawyers, our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, understands this. Contact our firm today to schedule your free legal consultation with us, during which we will discuss issues like child support, child custody and visitation with you.