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Modify Custody Orders in Wisconsin

When circumstances change, get the court to modify the original custody order

Custody Modification in Wisconsin
Life is pretty unpredictable and circumstances are going to inevitably change. It’s for this very reason that the court can modify a custody order. Keep in mind that the court is unlikely to change your custody order “just because.” You’ll have to make a strong case that something has changed that directly effects the child.

Proving a Change in Circumstances

To make a strong case, it is important to understand what the court considers when hearing a petition to modify an order.

  • The child’s health is at risk due to some sort of negligence on the part of the custodial parent.
  • The child has developed psychological problems that can be attributed to the custodial parent.
  • The child has developed social problems that can be attributed to the custodial parent.
  • Clear evidence of physical or sexual abuse of the child.
  • Neglect in various forms, including leaving the child home alone, not providing adequate care, or improper supervision over the child.
  • If the custodial parent has a live-in significant other that is a negative influence on the child or exposes the child to harm or danger.
  • Decline in the children’s performance in school or extra-curricular activities.
  • Imprisonment of the custodial parent.

What WILL NOT Work in Court

Before you spend the time and resources attempting to modify child custody, understand the following common examples are unlikely to change a custody order.

  • Failure to allow visitation to the non-custodial parent. If you are not receiving visitation rights that were agreed upon in the original custody hearing, courts can reinforce the custody agreement. But the court will not change the custody agreement for this reason.
  • Change of circumstances for the non-custodial parent. Just because your circumstances have improved, it hasn’t changed the well being of the child and the circumstances surrounding the custodial parent are unchanged.
  • An arrearage in child support payments could lead to the court taking that into consideration when considering child custody modification.
  • If the custodial parent has legally moved the child to another state and hasn’t violated custody agreements, the court won’t factor it into your custody change case.
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Types of Child Custody in Wisconsin

Other Child Custody Options

Alternating Custody

Sometimes referred to as divided custody, alternating custody occurs when the child lives with one parent for a semester or several months of a year and then spends time living with the other parent for another extended period of time. The length of stay with each parent is not necessarily proportionate or relative to how long the child previously spent with the other parent.

During these stays, the parent with whom the child is currently living with is the provider for that child and oversees all responsibility of the child.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is a pretty common custody model. It occurs when the child is with one parent for a set amount of time and then with the other parent for a similar amount of time.

Unlike alternating custody, both parents the responsibilities of the child. So even if the child is not presently spending time with you, your rights as a parent are never minimized or taken away from you.

Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody removes the burden of going from one parents home to the other. In this custody setting, the parent’s share a residency where the child will always reside. The parents then alternate who stays at that residence and when.

This custody option provides stability for the child and allows them to have the feeling of always having a home regardless of which parent is staying there with them at the time.

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