Wisconsin Child Custody
The state of Wisconsin upholds the standard of “the best interest of the child”. This means that every child custody decision in the state is based on what is best for the child. This is very important to remember when creating a Wisconsin Parenting Plan or Wisconsin Custody Agreement. Everything that is done in these important documents should be for the child’s welfare and help fulfill the needs of the child. Here is a list of the factors that the state considers when deciding about what is best for the child. (These are found in the Wisconsin Statutes, Section 767.41).
1. The preference of the child and the wishes of the parents. The mother and father should think about what the child wants and also what works for their particular situation.
2. The child’s adjustment to home, school, religion, and community. This is necessary to think about for a Wisconsin custody schedule. The parents must ensure that the child feels comfortable with his/her routine. The child shouldn’t be uprooted from school and community because the parents separate. Some children have an easier time adjusting and the schedule can reflect more change. Other children need more stability and the schedule should reflect continuity.
3. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
4. Any findings or recommendations of a neutral mediator.
5. The availability of child care.
6. Any history of spouse or child abuse, or any significant drug or alcohol abuse.
7. Whether one parent is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child’s relationship with the other parent. The law encourages parents to work together to figure out their custody arrangements. This is generally better for everyone involved and usually means the child’s best interest is accounted for.
8. Any parenting plan or other written agreement between the spouses regarding the child.
9. The amount of quality time that each parent has spent with the child in the past. This is also necessary to think about for the Wisconsin visitation schedule. Neither parent should suddenly be cut out of the child’s life. If the mother and father have been around the child, the child should have ample visitation with both parents. The visitation schedule should provide the mother and father with enough time to further develop and maintain a positive relationship.
10. Any changes that a parent proposes in order to spend more time with the child in the future. Some parents haven’t been very involved with the child. If a parent wants to change that to be more involved, that is considered better for the child. The parents should figure this out in their custody and visitation schedule.
11. The age of the child and the child’s developmental and educational needs. The parenting plan should be customized for the child and should allow for changes as the child grows older.
12. The cooperation and communication between the parents and whether either parent unreasonably refuses to cooperate with the other.
13. The need for regularly-occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement in order to provide predictability and stability for the child.
14. Any other factors except the sex and race of the parent.