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What happens if you can’t agree on a custody arrangement?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Firm News |

When parents part ways, they face one particularly significant challenge: determining how they will care for their child after divorce. Some parents can reach a fair arrangement through mediation or collaboration. However, if they cannot agree, their dispute may be in the hands of the court. What should you know about child custody disputes in Appleton, Neenah, Oshkosh and other parts of Wisconsin?

What are the types of custody in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, legal custody and physical placement refer to two different aspects of parenting. Legal custody – sometimes simply called “custody” – refers to which parent makes major decisions about the child’s life, including education, health care and religion. Physical placement refers to where the child lives and which parent cares for their daily needs.

The court can grant parents one or both types, depending on their situation. For example, a parent who does not have placement may still have the right to be involved in decisions about their child’s life.

What details go into a Wisconsin custody decision?

Wisconsin courts use the “best interest of the child” standard to guide their decisions. This standard considers several factors to ensure that the custody arrangement serves the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs. These include:

  • What the child wants –Courts may consider the child’s preference, depending on the child’s age and maturity.
  • What the parents want –The court takes the parents’ preferences into account when deciding a custody arrangement.
  • The parents’ relationship with each other – Shared custody requires parents to cooperate and communicate effectively regarding the child.
  • The child’s relationships – A child’s connections to siblings and other loved ones as well as how well the child is adjusting to home, school and community can be key factors in their emotional well-being.
  • Each parent’s past responsibilities – The amount and quality of time each parent has spent with the child in the past and any necessary changes to the parents’ custodial roles.
  • The health of both parents and the child– The mental and physical health of all parties involved can affect the parents’ ability to care for the child and the child’s specific needs.
  • The child’s welfare – The court seriously considers any evidence of abuse or neglect, issues with drugs or alcohol, or any other factor that might affect the child’s safety.

Within each specific situation, the court attempts to create an arrangement that gives children as much time as possible with each parent.

Custody disputes can be challenging for parents and children alike. However, understanding how the court makes decisions can help parents build a strategy that protects their connection with their child.