Many couples who are getting divorce or separated have a hard time agreeing on child custody arrangements. Parents may want to spend as much time with their child as possible, even if that time is at the expense of the child’s other parent.
How is custody determined in Wisconsin?
Parents who cannot agree on child custody will typically turn to the court for guidance. Because the judge does not personally know the family, he or she will refer to evidence provided by both parties to come up with a child custody arrangement that best supports the needs of the child.
The courts will use the evidence provided to analyze the custody factors listed under Wisc. Stat. Sec. 767.41. Some of these factors include:
- Age and needs of the child.
- Wishes of both parents and child.
- Willingness of parents to cooperate and communicate with each other.
- Relationship between child and each parent.
- Relationship between child and any person who may significantly impact child’s best interest (e.g., siblings).
- Child’s involvement in school and in the community.
- Drug/alcohol abuse by parent, parent’s dating partner, or others living in household.
- Mental and physical health of parents and child.
- History of domestic abuse in household.
The court is allowed to consider any factor it feels is relevant, even if it not specifically listed in the statute.
If the court finds that the child will benefit from having both of their parents involved in raising them, it will likely award joint custody. Joint custody may include joint physical custody, where the child lives in each parent’s home for a certain amount of time, and/or joint legal custody, where both parents will be involved in making decisions for the child.
It is easy to get caught up in a war with your ex, but it is important to focus on doing what is best for your child. A family law attorney can help navigate child custody issues and make sure that your child is well-cared for once the divorce is finalized.