Wisconsin Custody and Visitation Schedules

How do I make my Wisconsin custody and visitation schedule?

You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.

Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.

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In Wisconsin, how can I use the law to help me make my schedule?

When creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Wisconsin, the priority should be to allocate parenting time and the physical placement of the child in a manner that benefits the child and complies with the law.

The laws pertaining to child custody and visitation can be found in the 2009-10 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations, Chapter 767, Laws Affecting the Family.

The law explains the contents of a parenting plan, how the child visitation schedule should be created in a manner that benefits the child, and lists the factors the court considers when ruling on child custody matters.

The best way to ensure a successful outcome in your case is to create a child visitation schedule that serves your child's best interest while complying with the law.

What should be included in my Wisconsin custody and visitation schedule?

Parents involved in child custody proceedings in the State of Wisconsin are typically required to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court (767.14.1m). An important part of the parenting plan is the child visitation schedule, as it specifies when the child will spend time with each parent.

A complete child visitation schedule should contain:

  • A residential schedule that specifies when the child will spend time with each parent on a day-to-day, recurring basis. The residential schedule should provide the child with stability and security, by being developed in a manner that provides the child with a routine of scheduled time with each parent.

  • A schedule for holidays and special occasions that provides the child with equitable amounts of time with each parent for holidays. Mother's Day, Father's Day, all federal and school holidays, and birthdays may be included in the holiday schedule. Most parents find it easier to rotate the holidays throughout the year, alternating them in even and odd years.

  • A summer schedule for how the child will spend time with each parent when school is out.

  • Provisions for vacation time, such as stipulations for giving advanced notice, whether or not the parents will be permitted to remove the child from the state or country, and how long the parents shall be able to have the child for vacations.
What are the different kinds of custody in the State of Wisconsin?

The child visitation schedule should allocate the physical placement (physical custody) of the child based on the type of custody the parents have.

There are two types of legal custody in the State of Wisconsin:

  • Joint custody means the parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child.
  • Sole custody means only one parent has the rights and responsibilities of raising the child.

There are also two types of physical custody in Wisconsin that should coincide with the type of legal custody the parents have:

  • Joint physical placement means both parents share physical custody of the child
  • Sole physical placement means the child primarily resides with one parent although the other parent may still have visitation or parenting time with the child
In Wisconsin, what are the reasons the court would order sole custody?

The court may award either type of custody, after a preponderance of the evidence and based on the best interest of the child (767.41.2.a).

The court presumes that joint custody is in the best interest of the child, unless there are factors that would indicate otherwise.

Sole custody may be awarded if:

  • The court finds it would be in the best interest of the child
  • Both parents agree to sole custody
  • A parent is found to be incapable of parenting
  • A parent is uninterested in parenting
  • The parents are so hostile toward each other that joint custody would be interfered with
  • One parent poses a danger to the child
  • Conditions exist that are detrimental to the child

One parent refusing to cooperate with the other parent is not sufficient enough to warrant sole custody unless the parent has a good reason to do so (767.41.2.c).

In Wisconsin, what are the reasons the court would award joint custody?

The court presumes that joint custody is in the best interest of the child, unless there are factors that would indicate otherwise.

Joint custody would be awarded in a situation where there has been no abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or any other circumstances that would warrant sole custody.

In joint custody arrangements, the child visitation (child placement) schedule should be created in a manner that provides the child with frequent, on-going contact with both parents.

This provides the child with stability and security, and ensures the child has access to both parents on a regular basis.

When you share joint custody, you do not necessarily have to divide your time with the child equally, but the availability of each parent should be utilized in a manner that gives your child the optimal amount of time with both of you.

The amount of time the child spent with each parent prior to the divorce or separation may be a good measurement of how the child should to continue to spend time with each parent.

In Wisconsin, what factors are considered when the court makes a ruling?

Once submitted to the court, your child visitation schedule will be reviewed to ensure it meets the needs of the child and serves the child's best interests.

The court considers a variety of factors when determining the best interest of a child (767.41.5), including:

  • The nature of the relationships between the child and each parent
  • The past history of the child's care
  • The wishes of the child and the parents
  • The past and current circumstances in the child's life
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with any siblings and anyone else who affects the child's best interest
  • Any necessary changes to the parents' custodial roles or reasonable life-style changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, religion, and community
  • The age of the child and the child's developmental and educational needs at different ages
  • Whether the mental or physical health of a parent may negatively affect the child
  • The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child
  • The availability of public or private child care services
  • The cooperation and communication between the parents and whether either parent unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other parent
  • Whether each parent can support the other parent's relationship with the child
  • Whether either parent has been involved in domestic violence or abuse, has a criminal record, or had a significant problem with alcohol or drug abuse

The court will review the child visitation schedule to make sure it does not disrupt the child's life in a manner that is harmful to the child, or place the child in a harmful situation.

Once your child visitation schedule is approved by the court, the court will include it in the child custody order and it will become a document that you will be legally obligated to comply with.


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.

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Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.

Use the Free Download