When parents in Wisconsin divorce it is only natural that they want to protect their parental rights as much as possible. While parents are encouraged to work out custody and placement together, sometimes this does not happen, and they will need to turn to the court for custody and placement decisions.
Legal custody in Wisconsin
The parent or parents who have legal custody have the right to make key life decisions regarding their child. This can include deciding what religion the child will participate in, what school the child will go to and what types of health care the child will receive.
A parent has sole custody if they are the only parent awarded such. If both parents are awarded legal custody, this means that the order is for joint custody.
Physical custody is referred to as placement in Wisconsin. Placement dictates when each parent will have the child in their physical care.
Placement orders in Wisconsin
The parent with primary placement has the child in their care the majority of the time. If each parent has the child in their care at least 25% of the time, this is referred to as shared-placement.
If the parents have more than one child together, and one parent has one or more children in their care the majority of the time, and the other parent has the other child or children in their care the majority of the time, this is referred to as split-placement.
The best interests of the child
Courts make custody and placement decisions based on the best interests of the child. It is essential that the child’s interests are of primary importance.
For example, courts will consider the child’s wishes, each parent’s ability to cooperate and communicate with one another, each parent’s willingness to support one another’s relationship with the child, the child’s relationship with siblings and how much quality time the child previously spent with each parent. These are only a few examples of the best interests of the child factors.
Parents who keep the best interests of their child in mind may find that the custody and placement orders issued by a judge are fair and meet their child’s needs as well as their own.