When does a third party have custody rights in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Ralph Z. in Kewaskum, WI

Question Details:

My daughter is going through a divorce, and I personally feel I, as the grandfather to the child, am the best choice for custody as I have a stable income and both parents have a few issues to work out. When can a third party have a right to custody?

Family Law Attorney Response:

I would like to learn more details regarding your question, however third parties are able to receive custody based off a few circumstances.

In the case of Barstad v. Frazier, 118 Wis.2d 549, 348 N.W.2d 479 (1984)(Reversing 112 Wis.2d 343, 332 N.W.2d 835), the courts decided a parent is entitled to custody of his or her children (in relation to third parties) unless the parent is either unfit or unable to care for the children for any compelling reason. Compelling reasons include abandonment, neglecting parental responsibilities, extended disruption of parental custody. If any are found, the court can award custody to a third party if it seems in the best interest of the child.

Grandparents rights are a common case in family law. Give me a call so we can see if there are any compelling reasons described above to see what your next step is.


Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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