Wisconsin Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Wisconsin and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Wisconsin courts.
In Wisconsin, you can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
The State of Wisconsin has specific laws in place that you should be familiar with when creating a parenting plan in the state.
These laws can be found in Chapter 767, Laws Affecting the Family, of the 2009-10 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations.
The law provides detailed information regarding what to include in a parenting plan, how to submit a parenting plan, and how the court makes decisions in family law cases.
When you use the law as a guide while creating your parenting plan, you will be able to develop a comprehensive parenting plan that meets the requirements of the court. This should give you an advantage in your child custody case.
In the State of Wisconsin, parents involved in child custody disputes will usually be required to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court (767.14.1m).
Parents may work together to create the parenting plan, but not all parents will be able to effectively communicate and cooperate with each other.
If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own, you may attend mediation in an effort to resolve your differences. If an agreement is reached, you may then submit your parenting plan to the court.
If you are unable to create a mutually agreed upon parenting plan, despite your best efforts or due to extenuating circumstances that would prevent you from doing so, you may submit your own separately proposed parenting plans to the court.
The court will consider your proposed parenting plan and then make the custodial arrangements it feels are appropriate.
Regardless of whether your parenting plan is a joint effort or an individual request, a proposed parenting plan in the State of Wisconsin should include the following components (767.14.1m.a-o):
- A designation of the legal custody and physical placement of the child.
- A statement detailing the current residence of each parent and where they intend on residing for the next two years.
- The place of employment and the work schedule of each parent.
- A statement detailing who will tend the child when the parents cannot and who is responsible for paying for the childcare.
- A statement detailing where the child will go to school.
- The names and addresses of the doctors or medical facilities where the child will be receiving medical care.
- A statement detailing how the child's medical expenses will be paid.
- Details regarding the child's religious upbringing, if any.
- An allocation of parental decision making authority.
- A holiday schedule, specifying how holidays and special occasions will be divided between the parents.
- A summer schedule for the child.
- Provisions for communication between the child and each parent.
- A method for dispute resolution.
- A statement regarding financial support, such as child support and alimony.
- If there has been spousal abuse, a method of exchanging the child that ensures the physical safety of the child and each parent.
The court considers the child's best interest when ruling on a parenting plan.
The court will consider all factors that are relevant to the health, welfare, and best interest of the child, including, but not limited to (767.41.5):
- The wishes of the child's parents, as stipulated in court or submitted in a proposed parenting plan.
- The wishes of the child as to a custodial preference provided the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to voice an educated opinion.
- The established relationships the child has with each parent, any siblings, and any other people of significance in the child's life.
- The history of the care of the child and which parent has acted as the child's primary caregiver.
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, church, and community.
- The age and developmental level of the child and which parent is better equipped to meet those needs.
- The physical and mental health of all parties involved.
- The availability of child care.
- The child's need for frequent, ongoing contact with each parent.
- Whether or not the parents are able to communicate and cooperate with each other effectively.
- Whether or not each parent is willing and able to help foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.
- Whether or not a parent has been neglectful or abusive to any child, or has perpetrated domestic violence against any person.
- Whether or not a parent has a problem with alcohol or substance abuse.
- The reports of any professionals, such as doctors or counselors, if admitted into evidence.
- Any other factors the court finds to be relevant.
You should also keep these factors in mind as you create your parenting plan, and keep in mind that what is best for the child is the main concern.
The top twenty cities in Wisconsin (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, Janesville, West Allis, La Crosse, Sheboygan, Wauwatosa, Fond du Lac, Brookfield, New Berlin, Wausau, Beloit, Greenfield.