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What are my options for child custody rights?

Dissolving a marriage in Wisconsin can have far-reaching effects, especially if children are involved. While most parents want at least some form of custody over the children and time to spend with them, the facts surrounding custody can be unclear. You may also be unsure about what different custody terms mean and how they will affect your family. Understanding these can be key to asking for what you want in your divorce case.


The Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute states that the first step in determining rights is deciding who will be the custodial parent. While both parents have the right to be given this position, your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will likely both seek to establish why you each believe that you should have custody. Factors such as your mental and emotional health, the child’s wishes, the comfort of your home and the child’s relationship with you will all be considered. The court will make this determination depending on what it deems is best for the child.


If you are named the custodial parent, it means that you may have the right to make all health care, education and religion decisions. If you and your ex-spouse are both capable parents, you may be offered joint custody and share responsibility for such decisions.


In rare cases, custody may be offered to a third party. If neither of the parents are seen as fit to provide a stable home environment and another adult is seeking custody, the court may award full custody to that person. Temporary custody can also be given to either a parent or third-party until divorce proceedings are over and a final decision is made.

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