CALCULATING CHILD CUSTODY IN WISCONSIN
Is there a way to calculate who gets custody of minor children when going through a divorce in Wisconsin?
There are basically two forms of placement of minor children in Wisconsin when going through a divorce;
a. Primary Placement. This traditional placement arrangement puts the children primarily in one parent’s home the greater majority of the time (usually defined as 75% or greater), and affords alternative weekend placement to the non-custodial parent, with perhaps a couple of visits during the week for dinner.
b. Shared or Equal Placement. Under shared or equal placement arrangements, the parents can share placement, defined as 26% to 49% of the time with the other parent and if an equal placement arrangement, the time would be split 50/50 down the middle. Equal placement can also take different forms. One of the more popular ways of having equal placement is a “2/2/3” schedule; an example might be, Monday and Tuesday with mom, Wednesday and Thursday with dad, and rotate the weekends, Friday through Sunday night or into Monday morning. Equal placement can also mean week on-week off placement, and making Sunday evening the exchange time.
Shared placement arrangements can also take different forms; A popular “shared placement” arrangement is the 9/5 plan. In a 14 day cycle, one parent has 9 overnights, and the other parents has 5 overnights, which usually consists of every Thursday overnight on the off week, and on the on week, Thursday overnight to Monday morning every other weekend.
While there is no set schedule for every family, the trick is to find the best schedule that fits the needs of the family and is in the children’s best interest. The schedule shouldn’t be about counting overnights on one’s fingers to determine what the child support might be, but rather, what schedule is in the children’s best interest and will afford both parents to spend meaningful and substantial periods of placement with both parents; that is what the Wisconsin custody statute requires.
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