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Child Custody in Wisconsin

Familiarize Yourself with Child Custody Laws in Wisconsin


Mother and daughter on sofa reading book
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The state of Wisconsin uses several criteria to determine child custody. In Wisconsin, when parents are married and have children, they have equal rights to the custody of their child(ren), if they divorce. Primarily, a Wisconsin court will determine custody based on the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Wisconsin should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Wisconsin.

The Best Interests of Child

In determining the best interests of the child, a court in Wisconsin will consider the following factors:

  • Each parent's wishes
  • The child's relationship with his/her parents, siblings and extended family members
  • The child's comfort in his/her home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health of all involved parties

Joint Custody in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin court will award joint custody in cases where parents can cooperate in performing their responsibilities toward their child.

Multiple Children and Child Custody in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, if parents have multiple children, the state reserves the right to split the children between the parents based on age and the best interests of each child. However, the court also assumes that a child's best interests will be to be in the same home as their siblings.

Visitation Rights and Child Custody in Wisconsin

If a Wisconsin court awards child custody to one parent, the other parent has the right to visitation. A parent who would like to contest visitation due to the child's best interests may ask the court to deny visitation. Although courts in Wisconsin permit parents to repair the parent-child relationship, the courts have also denied visitation in the following circumstances:

  • Noncustodial parents who have had physically or emotionally abused the child in the past
  • Noncustodial parents who are suffering from a severe mental illness that may cause lasting damage to a child

In addition, a Wisconsin court will not deny visitation rights to an incarcerated parent or a parent who has been incarcerated in the past.

For more information about child custody in Wisconsin, speak with a qualified attorney in Wisconsin or refer to the Wisconsin Domestic Relations statute.

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