Child Custody FAQs

In years of representing parents and other interested parties in disputes over child custody and parenting time, we have answered countless questions about parental rights in Wisconsin. Below, we have answered some of the most common child custody questions.

Q: What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

A: In Wisconsin, physical placement is the term used to describe where a child resides most of the time. Legal custody refers to the ability to make important decisions about your child's education, religion, health care and upbringing.

Q: How do courts determine custody and placement?

A: Unless there are extenuating circumstances, courts tend to favor arrangements where parents share physical placement and legal custody. All decisions about child custody are based on what serves the best interests of the child. To deviate from a typical shared arrangement, you typically must show that shared custody or placement is detrimental to the child's best interests.

Q: What are grandparents' rights to visitation or placement in Wisconsin?

A: Wisconsin law presumes that a child's parents are best suited to protect their interests and protects the parents' rights to raise the child as they choose. If you are a grandparent or another interested relative, you may be able to petition the court for visitation.

Q: What can I do if my ex is withholding visitation/parenting time?

A: It is illegal for your spouse to prevent you from having visitation with your children, even if you have missed child support or alimony payments. If you cannot clear up the misunderstanding by yourselves, a family law attorney can help you evaluate your options and enforce your custody order.

Q: I think my former spouse may have a substance abuse problem. How can I protect my kids?

A: If your former partner is, indeed, abusing controlled substances, you may be able to seek a modification of your parenting plan. If you are able to show that your ex is using drugs or alcohol improperly, it may be appropriate for the court to order restricted or supervised visitation. Speak with a lawyer about your unique situation and your options.

More Questions About Child Custody And Placement? Schedule A Free Consultation.

While this child custody FAQ provides general information, there is no substitute for a face-to-face consultation with an attorney. We encourage you to contact our offices in Appleton or Green Bay at 920-831-0300 to discuss your questions in more detail and to speak with us about your specific situation. We offer a free 30-minute consultation in family law matters so we can answer your questions and help you understand your rights.

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