Understanding Your Right to Child Custody in Wisconsin
Going through a divorce or separation is never easy—it is especially difficult for parents of young children. You may have questions about your parental rights, including your ability to get child custody. In Wisconsin, child custody is defined as decision-making authority.’ A parent with custody has the right to make important decisions on behalf of the child, including health and educational decisions. Mothers and fathers are presumed to have an equal right to seek child custody.
- Mother’s Custody Rights: If you are a mother seeking custody rights in Dane County, our Madison parental rights attorneys are ready to help you find the best solution.
- Father’s Custody Rights: If you are a father seeking custody rights in Dane County, our Madison parental rights attorneys can help you navigate the legal process.
The key difference between a mother’s parental rights and a father’s parental rights centers around the issue of paternity. A man must establish paternity for a child before he has any legal rights or legal responsibilities. For married couples, paternity is straightforward. No action is required. For unmarried men, paternity can be more complicated. It may be established through a joint voluntary acknowledgment form, genetic DNA testing, or a court order.
Understanding Your Right to Physical Placement in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, the term child custody refers solely to the issue of decision-making authority. Where a child spends his or her time falls under the issue of physical placement. There are two categories of physical placement arrangements in Wisconsin:
- Primary Physical Placement: With primary physical placement, one parent spends more than 75 percent of nights with the child. The precise child time-sharing schedule will depend on the specific circumstances.
- Shared Physical Placement: With shared physical placement, each parent spends at least 25 percent of the nights with the child. This option often may work best for parents that can work reasonably well together and live in close proximity to each other.
The best physical placement arrangement depends on many different factors. If you have any questions about where your child should spend his or her time, our Madison parental rights lawyers are available to help.
An Overview of the Wisconsin Best Interests of the Child Standard
Similar to most other jurisdictions, Wisconsin uses the best interests of the child standard for parental rights cases. Under Wisconsin law (Wis. Stat. § 767.41), any dispute over custody or placement will be resolved by determining what arrangement is best for the health, safetly, emotional well-being, and positive social development of the child. Some of the key factors that courts will consider when determining the best interests of the child include:
- The relationship the child has with each parent;
- The demonstrated parenting ability of each parent;
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home;
- The wishes of the parents;
- Any history of abuse, neglect, or misconduct;
- If old enough (12+), the desired living arrangement of the child; and
- Any other factor deemed relevant to determine a child’s best interests.
Notably, Wisconsin law presumes that it is inherently better for a child to have a positive, ongoing relationship with both of their parents. Some form of shared custody and shared physical placement is generally favored in Wisconsin. Though, a parent may assert their right to claim sole custody to protect their child’s health and well-being. If you have any questions about the best interests legal standard, our Madison parental rights attorney is more than ready to help.
We Emphasize Amicable Solutions—But are Ready to Take Aggressive Action
Most separated parents are interested in finding low-conflict, amicable solutions that will work best for their family. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., our Madison family law attorneys put a strong emphasis on helping our clients find collaborative solutions whenever possible. This is important for a number of different reasons. Not only can it save your family stress and heartache, but courts look more favorably on parents who make a good faith effort to work towards an agreement.
At the same time, we also understand the importance of your parental rights and the preciousness of your relationship with your kids. Our trial-tested family litigation team is ready to take aggressive legal action to protect your parental rights. If you are locked in a high-conflict divorce, separation, or custody case, you need to take immediate action. Contact our Madison, WI parental rights lawyers for immediate assistance.
Why Choose the Madison Parental Rights Lawyers at Karp & Iancu
Parental rights matter. Nothing should come between you and your relationship with your child. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we always take a proactive, pragmatic, and solutions-oriented approach to family law representation. When you contact our Madison office, you will have an opportunity to speak to a Wisconsin parental rights attorney who will:
- Hear your story and answer your questions;
- Investigate the matter, organizing relevant information;
- Handle legal paperwork and represent you in settlement negotiations; and
- Devise a customized legal strategy focused on securing the best outcome.