In any divorce or separation involving children, one of the most challenging aspect for everyone involved is making decisions about custody and physical placement. We can help you seek your desired parenting rights, while keeping the process as amicable as possible.
In Wisconsin, what most states refer to as “custody” is split into two concepts: custody and physical placement. When going through a divorce or separation, it is important to have a clear understanding of these concepts and the laws that govern the establishment of custody and physical placement, so that you can develop reasonable expectations and effectively pursue the rights that you desire.
In child custody and placement matters, the single most important variable is the best interests of the children. This is codified in the Wisconsin statutes, and the courts consider a number of different factors in determining what type of custody and physical placement arrangement is in a particular child’s best interests. However, like other aspects of a divorce, parents can agree on custody and placement rights outside of court (also considering the “best interests” factors), and doing so is often the best option for both the parents and the child.
Experienced Custody and Placement Attorneys in North Central Wisconsin
At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., our family law and divorce attorneys regularly represent clients in custody and placement matters. Often, this involves settlement discussions, mediation, or collaborative methods that allow parents to develop a parenting plan that works for both of them and their children. However, sometimes parents are unable to agree, and in those cases we vigorously fight for our clients’ rights in court. When you contact us, we will explain your options and help you pursue a course that serves your needs and protects the best interests of your children.
Understanding Custody and Physical Placement
Custody (also referred to as “legal custody”) is the right to make major decisions for your children. This includes things like where they go to school, what religion they practice, and what non-emergency healthcare they should receive. Custody can either be joint (equally shared) or sole (with one parent having exclusive decision-making rights), though most divorced and separated parents will share joint custody, unless there is a specific reason why one parent should not have the authority to make decisions on behalf of his or her children.
It is also possible for parents to share joint custody for most decisions, but for one parent to be granted sole custody with respect to specific issues (such as healthcare or education).
Physical placement refers to the time that each parent gets to spend with his or her children. During the time that a parent has physical placement, he or she also has the right to make routine, day-to-day decisions about the child’s care. This includes decisions about things like: What to eat, when to go to bed, and which extracurricular activities to participate in after school. However, as a practical matter, parents will often make joint decisions about many of these types of issues as well.
Placement rights will generally be established according to a schedule. Placement rights can be equal, though most often a placement schedule will involve a child spending the majority of his or her time living with one parent.
Factors Affecting Custody and Physical Placement
Custody and physical placement arrangements should always reflect the best interests of the children involved. In Wisconsin, there are a number of recognized factors for assessing a child’s best interests. These include things like:
- Each parent’s availability to care for the child
- Each parent’s wishes regarding parenting rights
- Family and other significant relationships
- The child’s educational and healthcare needs
- The child’s wishes
- The availability of childcare and other services in each parent’s geographic location
- The parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate
- The parents’ ability to support one another’s relationship with their children
Seeking Custody and Physical Placement in North Central Wisconsin
At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we can help you seek the custody and physical placement rights that you desire. In many cases, there are steps that parents can take, before their divorce or separation, to improve their chances of obtaining the desired rights. Our attorneys can help you understand the law, and will explain the things that you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. Today
For more information about seeking custody and physical placement, contact Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. for a confidential consultation. With offices in Wausau, we represent parents throughout North Central Wisconsin. Call (715) 842-2291 or submit our online form to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your situation today.