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What do Wisconsin laws say about child custody?

Are you thinking about ending your marriage? Do you have minor children at home? If you do, you might want to know something about Wisconsin child custody laws before you file for divorce.

The simple truth is that parents may have an idea about what kind of custody agreement they would like to see following divorce. Unfortunately, unless they are able to work out a parenting plan on their own, they may not get exactly what they are looking for in a custody order.

Custody types

The state of Wisconsin recognized four different custody types. These are:

  • Sole legal custody
  • Joint legal custody
  • Sole physical custody
  • Joint physical custody

Sole custody takes place when one parent achieves full legal and physical custody of the children. Joint custody involves both parents sharing legal and physical custody of their children. If one parent received sole physical custody, the other might be granted visitation time.

How is custody decided?

A couple has the option to negotiate a custody plan that they feel best fits their family's needs. This they can do with the assistance of legal counsel, in private or in mediation. If they cannot agree on terms, then they can take the issue to court. If a judge gets involved in a custody dispute, the court will look at a number of factors in order to determine what kind of arrangement will best serve the interests of the affected children. Some of these factors include:

  • Parent-child relationship
  • Age of children
  • Child's wishes
  • Parental history of domestic violence or addiction
  • Available living situations

In short, the court is looking to put children in a healthy environment that will support their overall well-being.

Parenting plans

After reaching a basic custody arrangement, you and the other party can create parenting plans to work out all the finer details of the custody plan. Parenting plans often include the following information:

  • Transportation plans
  • Holiday schedules
  • Information on acceptable forms of contact
  • Information on acceptable dispute resolution methods

Parenting plans keep both parents on the same page as far as how the custody arrangements will work. This can help limit disputes.

Achieving a child custody plan that makes everyone happy is not always easy. Parents do not always agree on what is best for their children. With the assistance of legal counsel, you can work to negotiate an agreeable custody plan that keeps the best interests of your children in mind. If negotiations fail, legal counsel can help you fight for what you think is best for your children in court.

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