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Different placement arrangements in Wisconsin

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Milwaukee Attorney David Karp

There is an old saying that “one size fits all,” but when it comes to placement of minor children in a  divorce, there are a myriad of different placement arrangements that might work for one family, and for the next family it could be a train wreck. What works for one, doesn’t necessarily equate in working for the other. Today’s blog exposes the various type of placement arrangements when getting a divorce in Wisconsin.

  1. Traditional Placement (primary to one). These are the type of arrangements we use to see years ago. Typically, the woman wound up with primary placement of the children and dad visited every other weekend. This is the traditional approach to placement. The children were primarily placed with one parent (usually the mother) and the other parent (usually the father) would spend a couple of evenings with the children for dinner (non overnights) and see the children every other weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday evening. We still see these arrangements on occasion, but they are few and far between. Primary placement has been defined in Wisconsin as one parent having 75% of the time, counted as overnight placement. There have been some recent changes in the law with “equivalent care.” I wrote a blog on those changes during the summer.

2. Shared Placement. While there is no script or days that adhere to shared placement, percentage wise, we typically consider these arrangements as one the other parent having 26% to 49% of the time, counted against as overnights under the traditional laws in Wisconsin for custody and placement. What might a shared placement look like? A very popular shared placement might be what is called a “9/5 schedule.” Out of a  2 week 14 day cycle one parent has 9 days and the other has 5. It is typically every Thursday overnight and every other weekend, Thursday thru Sunday overnight. Another “shared placement” arrangement might be 4/3; in  a week cycle, one parent has 4 overnights, and the other parent has 3 overnights.

3. Equal Placement. Equal means equal does it not? However, equal placement can also take many different permutations. 6 months with mom and 6 months with dad is equal placement; so is 7 days on and 7 days off. The most familiar and common equal placement is what is typically known as a 2/2/3 or 2/2/5 schedule. Each parent has two set weekdays each week and the weekends get rotated. By example, mother would have the children each Monday and Tuesday; the father each Wednesday and Thursday and rotate every other weekend, from Friday to either Sunday night return (2/2/3) or keep until Monday morning (2/2/5).

When going through a divorce one must consider many factors when deciding on a schedule that works for both parents and is in the children’s best interest. There are many factors to consider. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; (a) the parties’ respective work schedules (b) the ages of the children (c) where the parties live in proximity to one another (d) what has been the historical placement of the children when the parties were together (e) the availability of day care or family assistance for both before and after school care. These are all factors that the parties need to consider in setting a placement schedule that works for both parents, and really is in the children’s best interest.

If you  have questions about custody and placement when going through a divorce, turn to the family lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. We have a reputation here in Milwaukee, the state and nationwide of being recognized as one of best family law firms. Contact us at 414 453 0800 for an initial consultation.

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